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Our first day involved walking up the Jollie Brook River.  The weather was fine and clear which made for a pleasant conditions during the 27 river crossings!  As we’d expected, river rocks got slipperier the further along the river we went, which made the crossings more difficult:we had to be pretty careful not to fall in.

The river crossings helped the group bond as we had to help each other to cross safety.

Mid-afternoon, we arrived at the campsite for the night and set up our tents. We soon were cooking dinner;  highly appreciated after a difficult day of river crossings. After dinner, we had a group debrief  to discuss the highlights of the day and what we wanted to work on for the rest of the weekend. Retreating back to our tents shortly afterwards, we hung out with our tents mates until we went to bed.

It was a long, windy night which meant I didn’t get much sleep. Waking early,we packed up our gear, cooked our breakfasts and set off at 8:45am towards Jollie Brook Hut. The morning started with 7 more river crossings which meant for a refreshing wake-up. On arrival at Jollie Brook Hut we stopped for a quick snack and ran through a few exercises. We practised doing a sound line to locate a missing person and role-played through a few critical incident scenarios. After our snacks, we headed off and walked to Gabriel’s Hut – the planned location for tonight’s campsite.

Thinking about our options, we walked down to Lake Sumner and found a clearing suitable for a campsite, however it was very windy down by the lake. Decision time; to camp by the beautiful lake, or head back to shelter? Looking at the forecast it was clear that bad weather would be passing in a few hours so we decided we would set up our tents in the clearing and stay there for the night.

Making the most of the relatively short day, we went on a bushbashing exercise after setting up camp. We were split into group and had to track cut by walking on a bearing. The activity was difficult at times as we had to crawl under low hanging branches and walk through rough and spiky plants. Our decision to stay in the sheltered location was the right one, not long after starting to cook our dinners, it began to rain. Dinner was quickly cooked and we hurried back to eat in our tents.

The rain was heavy that night and it was still raining in the morning, so we had a slower start while waiting for the bad weather to pass. When the weather started to clear up we packed up our gear and packed down the tents.  The day started with heading back to Gabriel’s Hut and then walking down the track along the Hurunui River. This track was different to what we had experienced on any of the other days, this was out in open grass lands rather than through forests or rivers on the other two days.

We arrived for lunch by the upper swing bridge. During lunch we had to decide if we wanted to cross at the upper bridge and walk along the road back to the van or continue down the track and cross at the lower swing bridge. At first we thought it would be easier to cross at the upper bridge as the rain from the previous night may have made Jollie Brook rise making it difficult to pass. A couple of other trampers happened to pass by and we asked them what the river levels were like. They told us it wasn’t too bad so we decided to cross at the lower swing bridge. We continued along the track and crossed the Jollie Brook for the last time.

We were all excited when we got back to the van and proud of what we had accomplished over the weekend. I really enjoyed this tramp and want to go on more exciting tramps in the future. This tramp was difficult at times and made push myself. It am proud of completing this tramp and the new experience and knowledge I have gained will be valuable for future adventures. I would like to thank FMC for the journey grant. I’m looking forward to starting my Gold award and going on more adventurous journeys.

We’re delighted to share another trip report from recent recipients of FMC’s Youth Award Grant. These grants are awarded four times a year, so if you’re inspired to get some financial support, head over to FMC’s website to apply.