Two friends of mine, Sonja and Jakob, are setting off for quite a challenge at the end of this year: A 660km hike across the Australian Alps, from Walhalla, VIC to Tharwa in the ACT (for European readers: that's the distance from Munich to Florence, including the European Alps).
That means: 8 weeks of hiking, of probably not seeing any other human being for 8 weeks other than each other (that's kind of a challenge in itself...), covering heights up to 2300m, in sun, snow and storm, all this in one of the remotest areas of Australia. No bus stops, no reception, no coffee shops.
A lot of preparation went into the plan: what to take, what to wear, what to eat .. and how to carry it. Setting up support teams, organising leave from work, and getting fit.
Apart from the personal challenge this hike also gives Sonja and Jakob the opportunity to raise money for some of Australia's historic icons, something close to their hearts: the Huts of the High Country. These huts are iconic, simple shelters that were built by graziers, gold miners, foresters, government workers, skiers and bushwalkers during every era of European history in the Australian Alps.
Early in the planning Sonja and Jakob asked me if I could help with setting up a website. Firstly to show the magnificient images they took during their training walks around Mt Kosciusko, but also to link to the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife to provide enough information for anyone who wants to donate towards the huts.
Now I'm definitely not a programmer and not really a webdesigner. But this project gave me the chance to finally test one of the template solutions available. We agreed on Squarespace as their very stylish templates and smart crossmedia options offered the most 'bang for the buck'. Plus easy access and top customer service.
I don't think templates will ever 100% replace properly programmed websites, especially not when high back end programming is required.
But for websites like hikeforhuts.org and for a small budget, a template offers everything needed and even more.
Have a look, share and bookmark and come back again as there will be updates along the way. And feel free to contact Sonja and Jakob if you like to help their cause.