By Dylan Barker (March 2021)

Firstly, I would like to thank Federated Mountain Clubs for the wonderful donation for our trip.  The trip threw many obstacles in our faces and we persisted through each challenge. 

The first day we found the trip would be hard on all of us. We each knew that this would be the easiest day of the trip, but we each still had our personal struggles. Two members were attacked by a horde of bees with another getting major cramps by the end of the trip. All in all, we had a great time and with a laugh we kept going. The climb from Kiwi Mouth Hut to Manson Hut was massive. At one point we bushwhacked from path to path as there was no discernible way up. It felt as if it kept going and going. It was a never-ending slog. Never has a group been happier getting to Manson Hut for lunch. 

The biggest challenge as a group we faced was Jaidyn injuring his knee. We decided to break into two smaller groups with the fast group getting to the hut quickly so we could help the member with an injured knee. We all got there just before dark — an hour between the two groups — but we all got there safely, which is what is important. 

At this certain hut there is a cable car. It was very cool the first 5 minutes, and then we realized the pain and time it takes to get people across the river. The next morning a quick strap of a knee, strap of an ankle and with some breakfast, we were off to make a 700m climb. There was a three wire bridge over a small river, which me being a genius saw the river was low and walked across. Regrettably the next 7 hours I walked in wet shoes while the other 5 were happy and dry. That is something I will personally take out of the trip. Keep your shoes dry! Having dry feet really does keep you happy the rest of the day. 

This day we were all being very cautious about Jaidyn’s knee. We knew if his knee gave out it would be the end and emergency procedures would have to be implemented. However, Jaidyn took it in his stride and smashed the 700m climb and decided he felt he was good to do another 5 hours to get to our original hut.

As a group we decided it was the right decision and we were over the moon when we saw we had an empty hut at Middle Hill. The first two nights we had been tenting, with which we had some varied success at sleeping.

We had a brilliant group on the tramp, which made any challenge easy to face together — especially all of us coming around Jaidyn with full support. We had a brilliant time on the tramp which made for an incredible 4 days of tramping in the Kawekas. 

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.