Hiking Fiasco. The Resurrection.

Guess what? I’m back! Actually, come to think of it, are you sick of me saying those same words? As the long suffering reader of this place knows, I do have a love/hate relationship with blogging. At times I’m high on life with it. So much so that I’m doing a Cossack dance up and down my hallway (I have a very wide hall), whilst listening to ‘Turbo Lover’ by Judas Priest OR I’m lifting the home page up, which of course is attached to the computer and then hurling it out the window.

So here we are. Hiking Fiasco. The resurrection. (Oh, regarding the title of this post suddenly reappearing for no apparent reason, I’ll explain later.) The thanks for this blog makeover should be directed to Michelle at Little Hero Designs. She did all the work, whilst I lay slumped in a chair and essentially did nothing. Michelle was great to work with and other than a few niggles, things have worked out great. Sure, we may have disputed the font, but there was a nonsensical reason for that. She felt Calibri was best, but I have Calibri trauma. Believe it or not, but in my last job, I had a boss who’d say, “I want that report. I want it now and I want it in Calibri!!” I’m not even joking. I think I developed font PTSD.

Anyway, the most important thing is the blog is back.

You know what? I’ve been away for so long, some things have come and gone. So gone, they now feel like they happened a million years ago. Like the Olympics. There I was, sprawled across the couch like a wide-eyed chump, watching streamed sports that I had no idea what was happening. You know, like handball.

Okay, I get the basic idea. Grab something that looks like a nerf ball and hurl it at a hundred miles an hour into a net that appears to have shrunk in the wash. Actually, I watched a stack of handball, but I think it was more to do with one particular commentator. This bloke would make up his own sayings. When one player had his shirt held whilst running, the man of comments exclaimed in horror, ‘He’s got hold of his carriage!!’ Huh? The ol’ carriage shirt? Not to mention the time an oversized European Yeti jumped over some players and my favourite commentator poetically announced, ‘He rises into the air. Like a salmon!’ Now you know why I watched so much handball.

Oh, don’t even talk to me about weightlifting. A lot of it streamed on the BBC didn’t have any commentary at all. Simply, it was hours of people walking around, throwing small vehicles above their heads, screaming, and then walking off again. I had no idea what was going on.

Anyway, I guess I should get back to something more relevant. During my blogging downtime I did some reading on a subject I probably should have researched about six years ago. Roughly on the day before I started this blog. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Yeah, I can just see your eyes begin to glaze over right now. Don’t worry though, feel some pity for me. I’m the one who firstly had to research it and secondly, has to write about it. Right now, set up on a timer, I’ve got a taser down the front of my trousers. Every 12 seconds it shocks me back awake as I write about this topic.

Somehow my brain found out the difference between a H1 and a H2. Oh, if you’re wondering. It’s not a new-fangled way of describing going to the Gents. It’s about a header tag and how it’s searched on Google. Exciting, huh? Not to mention learning about focus key words. Every post needs them and it’s helpful if they’re repeated within the content. This all helps for the entry to be optimised.

Hey, do you want my taser? Are you still awake? Don’t worry, I have more. Forget waterboarding. Just inflict SEO articles on the enemies of the state. Sub-headings. Apparently it helps to have them. You know, so the savvy reader who’s time poor can quickly scan through a post and find the content he wants. Maybe in some upcoming posts I’ll give it a go, but I’ve got to make sure they range from H2 to H4. There should only be one H1 title per post and that’s the heading. See what I mean? Shoot me now. Actually, I’m not convinced I’ll be able to maintain the strictness of what’s required, as my anarchic self, naturally rebels against these ‘rules’.

So, in the future you may notice a couple of oddities in a post. The overall heading should be the focus keyword. That’s no problem, but then it’s meant to be repeated within the entry. Certainly this can appear odd, as suddenly the heading reappears in text for what appears to be no apparent reason. What’s worse is it makes the writing stilted. I gave it a go on some older posts and the focus key word now pops up like a ‘Where’s Wally’ and written in a way as if I wrote it whilst my underpants were vacuum-sealed to my body.

It made me think about a few things. Hiking Fiasco. The Resurrection. Ha! Did you see what I just did there? It’s magic. Anyway, in my thoughts I did ponder how Google has us all well and truly by the nuts. Not just with a grip, but a twist AND lift as well. I searched Google for some older posts and they’re barely anywhere to be found. Yet first cab off the rank in the search for the same topic is often a few half-baked words. These are at the top, solely due to the writer knowing how to do SEO properly. Bastards!

Are we slaves to Google? It feels that way. What’s worse is I’ve always thought Google was a crap word. I reckon a good search engine name should be ‘Roger’. Let me give you an example. There you are. Sitting on top of a hill and no doubt you’re wondering only one thing. “Why didn’t Napoleon commit the Imperial Guard at the Battle of Borodino? If he did, it may have paved the way for the fall of Moscow and history would be very different.” It’s a good question. I could then reply, “I don’t know, but I’ll give Napoleon a Rogering and find out.” See what I mean? Once I’ve Rogered Napoleon I can come back with the answer. The options of using Roger are limitless.

So what’s changed in here? Mm… Let me think. Oh, I know. Nothing. It’s all the same stuff that’s bored you forever. As you can see in the header menu, I’ve included certain categories such as ‘alpine’ and ‘coastal’. The original idea was to have all the states listed. There was a problem though. Victoria has about 280 posts and the count for Queensland is roughly none. Western Australia is a bit the same. Seemed a bit weird to use a category link that goes to nothing? Anyway, ease up you Queenslanders who think I should be visiting and writing about the place. You’ve not just elected, but have inflicted both George Christensen and Pauline Hanson on us. And you want me to go walking up there?

Actually, if you’re reading this in the States, don’t you go and get smug about our insipid dribblers in parliament. You’ve got a lot to answer for. I used to like all things orange, but now I feel queasy when I see the colour. How will I face a Cheezel again? Oh, make no mistake, but small hands = small sausage. Mm… While I’m talking about nutritional items. What’s happened to the Wagon Wheel? I had one the other day and it was completely different to the last I had in 1972. Where’s the jam? The mallow? Why’s the chocolate taste like crap? I’m outraged! MAKE WAGON WHEELS GREAT AGAIN.

Okay, back to the categories. I’ve officially given up trying to put them in some sort of workable order. It was okay in 2009 when there were about 10 posts, but after six years the amount of content has turned the whole thing pear-shaped. Plus, my blog thoughts change. Originally I was going to be the kingpin hiking resource of the Southern Hemisphere.

I envisioned permanently wearing pants with multiple pockets and being sponsored by outdoor companies. Besides reviewing weight saving essentials such as carbon-fibre toothbrushes, I’d also write about maintaining fitness for the outdoors. I had an article lined up called ‘How to stay hard for hiking’ and I imagined being sponsored by Cialis to write it. Then suddenly one day the idea bored me senseless and out the window it went. As it is, I’ve got a photography category. Yet I don’t review anything photographic. As you can see, Hiking Fiasco. The resurrection is a nightmare (oh yes, focus keywords are appearing like an unwanted rash. It’s working well).

On the home page, there are links to my Twitter where I rarely tweet and Instagram where I never gram. Hang on. What is it called? I’m gramming? Huh? That can’t be right. You never know, I may adopt some more social networking. Unlikely, but you never know.

What else? There are some minor changes to the comment system, although I have no idea how that operates. If you want to, I know you can use your Facebook or Twitter account to leave a comment. I think. If you’ve subscribed before, you may have to do so again. Do you like how I wrote ‘may’? If you think that I, the creator of this blog has any idea how it operates, you’re sorely mistaken. I haven’t got a clue.

Other things are more or less the same. If you can’t find anything, you can always use the search box. As an example, if you wanted to read about the Viking, stick ‘viking’ in there and you should get all you need. Oh, I’m talking about the Viking walk and not this viking.

techno-viking

Techno Viking

Then again, I’ve tagged that photo correctly, so this post will probably come up first if you search for the viking word. Oh well, you’ll work it out.

Am I done? No, not yet. Don’t forget I haven’t been here for months. Remember this photo?

wooden-track-near-the-springs-camp-gsww

Have a look where it is now.

meridian-great-south-west-walk-map

Yes, you can find it sprawled over the new Meridian Maps edition for the Great South West Walk. The picture was taken during that hike, which I walked one and a half times. At the time, I was battered by winter coastal winds, struck down by killer blisters and then eaten alive by leeches in the Cobboboonee Forest. I knew one day though, it would all be worthwhile and at some point a reward of vast riches would come my way. Finally, after four years that moment arrived. I got a free map. Actually, I’m talking crap. I got two maps out of it. Anyway, I think it came out well, although I’m insanely biased. Just think, you can buy the map and carry me in your pocket wherever you go.

What else? Oh, I’ve got a hundred thoughts and ideas. Unfortunately not many relate to walking and this post has already hit 1700 words. Did you know in SEO terms that’s bad? My lack of sub-headings will now relegate this in a Google search? See what I mean? The whole thing sucks!

I better head off and you know what’s one annoying thing about returning to blogging? I’ve got to do some walks for new material. Sure, I had a stack of walks that I’d completed a while ago. They were all lined up in a walk bank for future blogging use. Unfortunately that grand idea went pear-shaped when the computer died earlier in the year. Photos taken on those old strolls are now on hard drives and that filing system is a complete joke. As in there is no filing system. I guess I really, really should write up the Mallacoota to Wonbyn hike. Then again, I say that every six months and never actually compile it.

What I do have though is a handful of walks and places up my sleeve where there’s barely a mention online. You know how it is when you buy a new walking book? Open it up and find it has all the same walks as the previous outdoor guide you’d bought five years ago? Do I really need another publication with the 1000 steps in it? I guess these handful of walks are repeated for a reason. They’re probably the best to do, but the thought is wearing a little thin. So, I’ll be getting off my arse and attempting something next week (maybe) which is not so well known.

Until next time….!