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Friday, 10 June 2016

Sunrise Hut

OK technically this was not a Science based trip but I could not resist posting about this amazing tramp up through the Ruahine Forest to Sunrise Hut.

21 Year 8 students, 4 Police Officers, and I set off on a grey day from Napier. I didn't realise quite how long the drive was down past Tikokino, another 22 km from there and then 12 km or so on rough road and private farm land. The kids were excited and there was so much chatter on the way there and on the start of the tramp. Slowly the chatter died away as the climbing got steeper but the girls were all smiles here (the boys were still coming).

After another 40 minutes of climbing the dreaded questions began 'How much longer Miss?', 'Are we there yet Miss?' and 'My legs are sore'. Some of them just about cried when we reached the next sign telling them it was another hour and 45 mins of climbing to go.

I was so proud of some of the kids who were prepared to give up and had to really dig deep in order to carry on. I found myself drained keeping up the banter to take their minds off the climbing and talking about things that interested them. There were extreme differences though with trying to reign in those at the front who just about ran up the entire tramp. Staying together as a group was a challenge in itself.

Excitement quickly passed down the line as soon as they found snow. The compulsory snowball fight ensued!

We were very lucky that one of our Police Officers was in the role of Search and Rescue and entertained the kids with stories of rescues and fascinating facts. He taught them how to find north using an analogue watch, how to spot the plant known as 'Bushman's friend' and why it was called that raising a laugh from most. They learnt about tree lines, the dangers of wind chill and how fast conditions could change.

The relief of reaching Sunrise Hut was evident with everyone devouring their lunch boxes, a queue outside the long drop, and others relaxing on the veranda in the brilliant sunshine. The walk down was an easy one resulting in a group of very tired but proud students full of achievement and self worth.

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