Youth Award Grant  Tarawera Falls

With the threat of being cancelled just hours before departure, the trip for these FMC Youth Award Grant recipients started out rocky. But after three days in the backcountry, they learned that “a trip is worth a little bit of chaos.”

By Freda Prak (November 2020)

A trip is worth a little bit of chaos . . .

Approximately 6 hours before our incredibly anticipated three-day trip, we were hit with the possibility that it might not even commence! Weeks and weeks of planning, an abundance of lengthy emails (as well as the annoying ‘ping’ noise booming from my phone) felt as though they had just gone to waste. All I kept thinking was, “You can spend hours and hours and hours baking this huge extravagant cake…just for it to be inhaled in less than 5 minutes.”

But in this case, less than 5 minutes and the cake will be destroyed before anyone gets a bite! I was almost bursting from fear…

I did not want this — at all. I was left in my living room typing away, making a last-minute phone call and panicking about the plan. It really sounds chaotic and a little bit childish when I describe it this way, but I can assure you that my mind was going at 3 times its normal speed that night.

Thankfully, the trip itself was actually much better than the night before the trip!

The funniest thing amongst our group was realising our incompetence in planning some aspects of trips . . . mainly calculating how long it would take us to walk on each individual day.

Day one of our three day trip was calculated to be a “long” but “nice” walk (somehow that made sense to us). While we eventually got to our campsite for the night earlier than expected, we later learned we would be wrong to give ourselves credit for being “so quick”.

Why? Because one, we took an awful abundance of rests and two, the rests were basically as long as our lunch stops! Therefore it was either that we calculated terribly wrong, or we calculated terribly wrong. There’s just no in between.  Thankfully, we then decided we would calculate spending MORE hours than we actually did, so it meant we wouldn’t end up walking for ages and ages thinking we were supposed to have arrived hours earlier. 

Regardless of being mathematically incapable and the tired teenagers we were, we were blessed to have been able to hike through such beautiful surroundings and primarily decent weather 24/7. Seeing the Tarawera Falls as our end goal was worth our time believing multiple different areas was the same one serial on our route card. We barely got any nice group photos together, but living in the moment was the best. Through many complications, we were quickly able to fix our mistakes and learn from what we did wrong. 

This trip was more of a learning process rather than a lovely trip one would expect. Of course, I knew I would be tested. The navigational skills we had been trained to do were to be relied on without the help of our shadower. I had to work with the group multiple times to communicate many ideas even though I had just met them. At one point of the journey, we walked up an incredibly steep hill that truly tested our endurance.

Every part of the journey was a challenge.

Yet here we all are, alive and well having come out of the trip feeling joyful that we even went out there to test ourselves. I don’t regret wanting to go on this trip and I don’t regret having gone through all the trouble to sleep in a small tent, being vulnerable to pesky mosquitos and walking for hours rather than watching Netflix at home all day. 

Trips like these are worth it. I’m so grateful that I get the chance to go out and drown myself in the natural beauty out there. Waking up to bird calls and watching the sun set under the water is a whole different experience when you’re cuddled up in a sleeping bag sitting amongst the trees.

This was my trip. It wasn’t perfect in the way that we did everything right, but it was perfect in the way that we experienced nature at its finest.

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. 

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