Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Tramp

Opening Thoughts...

I admit it. I’m a liar. I have a memory of muttering over and over again: ‘I’m never going to do this again’ in the pouring rain like a mantra while helping a friend set up his tent. I would even go as far as to say that’s what inspired me to continue. To have the belief that this indeed would be the very last time. The last time that I would go tramping. The last time to be in close proximity to mountains of mud. The last time that I would be more than a mile away from the nearest cell tower.


But the simple truth is that I would do it, most likely, again. The pain of carrying a pack and venturing up and down, and up and down muddy 25 degree treks seems to be a distant thought. And I guess this is what life really is. In the present, while facing a particularly difficult task, you become adamant that this indeed is the worst moment of your short life and that you would give up your left hand to in order to avoid it. You hate it and it hates you, and it’ll always be that way.


Then a week passes. All your clothes are dry and gear put back in its place. Really, for me the only thing different seems to be the small rip in the adidas sneakers that I wore. Life continues like normal. Then in that moment, the hate for that moment disappears and it strikes you that indeed, that going to that Duke of Edinburgh qualifying tramp was a good idea. It built character and it showed me how any struggles you may have can be overcome with dedication and determination and that life is meant to be about defeating challenges, and wrestle it into submission. As a rather introverted being, most home in the comfort of a warm home and high speed internet, it is rather odd that I am eager for the next step. But then again, I kind of face it with a feeling of dread too.


Preparation Journey...

The preparation tramp for the qualifying journey took place over three days and two nights. On the 17th of March, our group left HBHS and travelled by van for slightly more than two hours, reaching Pureora Forest Park. Once we arrived, we set up camp and prepared dinner. I had a Back Country freeze-dried meal. I personally set up a hoochie, with assistance from the supervising teacher.

On the second day, we packed up everything and made groups. I was with Shanteer, Aryan, Sam and Jonathan. After walking for numerous kilometers, our group attempted to create a shelter with rope and to start a fire. While the shelter was relatively decent, the east said about the fire, the better. During the afternoon, we walked back to camp. The second time of putting up my hoochie, this time completely by myself was not as good. That night sleep was a welcome embrace.

The third day was by far the most difficult. In the morning we got up from camp to a nearby mountain. The name escapes me. Our hope and determination, fueled with bags of scroggin soon gave way to dread as we finally comprehended the task ahead of us. Sloping hills, treacherous swamps, boysenberry bushes and a dodgy bridge was what we encountered. It took strength and determination, but we pulled through. Done. A long journey home awaited us.

What I learned from the preparation journey

Exactly what should and shouldn't be in my gear list for next time.

How I’ll need to bring a better quality pack.

It won't be as easy as I thought.

I hate mud.


Qualifying Journey..

Having been on the practice journey, packing was very straight forward. On the first day, we ( me, Shantia, Eddie, Parth, Yaksh and Jay) departed HBHS on the 27th of May. We arrived at the start of Waihora track (near the Waihora stream) and walked all the way to the Waihaha Hut. The first day was definitely the most difficult and involved digging in deep to overcome the challenge. The hardest part was not necessarily the distance (around 11 km), nor the weight on our backs, but the rigorous ups and downs of the terrain. As the tramp progressed, so did the intensity of the rain. This led to the ground becoming very muddy which obviously made travelling more challenging. By the time we arrived at the DOC maintained Waihaha hut, our party has exhausted. After a quick dinner and setting up the tent (in the rain and in the dark), sleep quickly overcame our thoughts.

The next day was much easier. The distance we had to travel was around 7 km, but the terrain was much more mild, This led to a comparably easier walk, and although fatigue was starting to wear in, the thought of finishing the tramp ensured that our focus was on finishing as quickly as possible. Along the way, we saw some amazing sights of the New Zealand cliffs and bush. When we finished, an open road was greeting us and we boarded the van to start the long journey home.


What I learned from the qualifying journey

The slope of the walk can make things more difficult than the distance.

All tough experiences come to an end.

All tough experiences can be used to build your character.

I hate mud.


Gear List:

Pack, Sleeping Bag, Water Bottle, Plastic Bags, Beanie, Utensils, Plate, Headtorch, Tent/Hoochie, Cooker, Food (Pita Bread and Salami), Pots, Sneakers, Skins, Warm Jersey, Socks, Shorts, T-shirt, Underwear, Earphones, Power Banks, Toothbrush/paste, Matches.

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