21 November 2023
Members from HMAS Stirling recently completed the 135km Cape to Cape trail in the Margaret River region of WA, with the spectacular coastal trek fostering relationships and building resilience along the way.
Starting from Cape Naturaliste lighthouse, 18 members set off on the trail, navigating through cliff heads, vegetation, forest scenery and long stretches of white beaches.
The team tackled the challenging rock formations, steep inclines and kilometres spent on soft sand together, forging new friendships during hours of walking each day.
Seaman Millicent Guthridge said he had never explored this part of WA before.
“Walking for sometimes eight hours each day gave a great opportunity to take in views you wouldn’t be able to see from a car and allowed for some great photos,” Seaman Guthridge said.
“There was ample time to really get to know people who you wouldn’t ordinarily cross paths with. Some good laughs were shared to pass the time.”
The Cape to Cape trail offered stunning scenery with wildflowers in full bloom and whales spotted in the distance while hikers transited along cliff faces.
Nine members of the group chose the ultimate challenge and tackled the trek unassisted - carrying everything they needed for the hike on their backs, living off ration packs and camping off the trail at the end of each day’s hike.
Lieutenant Commander Jason Shegog was one of the members who pushed themselves to do the trail unassisted.
“I found the idea of doing the hike and carrying everything I needed in a bag on my back really exciting. It was the first real opportunity I have had in my career to do anything like this,” Lieutenant Commander Shegog said.
“The most memorable part was the overwhelming sense of accomplishment when we reached the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. But some of my fondest memories were the times at camp at the end of each day hanging out with a great group of people.
“I would highly recommend the hike to anyone who is looking for a challenge and the opportunity to meet some amazing people.
“For anyone looking to conduct some training, chuck 20 kilograms on your back, find some ankle-deep sand and just start walking.”
This trip was organised by the Adventure Training Unit at HMAS Stirling and will run once a year.