By Emily Prout
We set out to complete our Duke of Ed Gold tramp and the route we chose sent us over the Two Thumbs range from Mesopotamia to Tekapo in four days. Our group was a mix of girls from Christchurch and Dunedin, along with our supervisor Richie. The route finding was more technical than I had expected, with a roughly polled route and often without a specific path. This required us to actually use our maps and have fun figuring out where we were.
Our supervisor was great; his enthusiasm was infectious. One evening he got us all excited about making spoons, so we each took a piece of kindling and learnt to whittle. At one point I remember looking up and realising hours had passed without my knowledge. He also showed us some mountain berries to eat, so a couple of us dragged out the walking time a bit searching for and enjoying snow berries.
By the end of the second evening, I had learnt never to bring butter chicken sauce with couscous for dinner again (sorry to Phoebe who had to tough it out and just eat it)! I am not sure how we managed to get that so wrong on our supermarket trip earlier . . .
Another thing I realised over the course of the trip is that winter tramping is quite different to summer tramping. We all quickly became very good at taking layers on and off (and on again), as well as looking out for each other and making sure nobody was suffering in a chilly silence.
On the last night of the trip, I lay awake listening to a friendly mouse jump laps around our tent. In the morning, we awoke to some little poos in our dinner bowls that we had only scraped clean. The river was either a steep cliff traverse or long mellow walk away, but we were not keen on walking more last night after a long day. Yay, mouse poo porridge is my favourite! Well, I guess it is all part of the experience.
In the end, I have come away not only with an inspiration to spend more time outdoors, but also a sweet ‘homemade’ wooden spoon. I would like to thank FMC and the Maerewhenua Trust for helping me out and enabling me to go on this awesome trip. Their support towards my hut, transport, and instructor fees is very generous and I am very grateful.
I am now excited to finish off the other sections of my award and hopefully have it done by the end of the school year.
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.