Thought I'd share some photos from the school camp I went on last week with Caitlin's class. It's taken me a couple of days to catch up on the lack of sleep that you get when camping with a class of 10 to 12 year olds and its also taken that long to catch up on the washing and ironing but I'm getting there.
The above photo is taken at a track junction 10 minutes away from the Pinnacles hut that we stayed in on the first night. I had opted to go with the faster group but ended up with 2 slower boys at the back of this group who's fitness wasn't really up to the faster groups level. They were moaning and groaning for the last 3rd of the tramp so were very pleased to see this sign which confirmed that they were nearly there. It was a good 2 1/2 hour tramp up hill most of the way zig-zaging across streams, some of them bridged and some not, with beautiful views if you remembered to look behind you. Just after we arrived at the hut which was initially empty 2 older ladies arrived. After introductions we learnt that they were 'teachers' on holiday from the Netherlands. We felt so sorry for them having to stay in the hut with a class of noisy kids when they were probably hoping for a quiet night in the bush. There were also 4 young men from New York that arrived later on who after seeing the hut full of kids wisely decided to camp in tents a wee way from the hut.
This photo shows the track up to the actual 'Pinnacles' peak which we did after a rest at the hut first. It was a pleasure to walk without our backpacks weighing us down.
Taken from halfway up and looking down towards the hut which is just to the right of this photo. It is a steady climb up with lots of stairs then a bit of rock climbing at the very top.
The climb is worth the effort though with these spectacular vistas to take in. This photo is looking out to sea beyond the small coastal town of Tairua.
This photo is taken at the very top looking out towards our town of Whangamata. You can literally see for miles in all directions especially in the beautiful clear sunny weather that we experienced all week.
I took this photo a wee way down the rock face and it shows just how rugged and remote the bush covered hills are that we were tramping in.
This lovely creature was the 2nd one we encountered on our tramp. It is a bush Weta and is a native insect of New Zealand. We had stopped for a rest on our decent down the following day and Caitlin's teacher and I had been laughing at the kids squealing at something when one of Caitlin's friends came over with this Weta in her hand to show me which made me squeal with fright. It was about the size of her palm but thankfully didn't look too alive. I have bad memories of these creepy insects from my childhood. I remember climbing a tree in our backyard once and looking down to see one of these climbing up my foot. I squealed so loudly and so much that I think my Mother thought I'd fallen out of the tree.
The last 2 days were spent down at a DOC camp site in the valley below with this lovely tranquil stream nearby. DOC camp sites are looked after by the Department of Conservation and are a real back to nature camping experience with what we call 'long drop' toilets, no running water and basic barbecue/fire places. This stream was beautiful but very very cold which I found out when I had to wash my hair and myself although afterwards I felt very refreshed and clean.
This camp definitely challenged some of the kids and took them out their comfort zones but was so good for their self confidence. I feel grateful to be able to live and bring up our girls in such a beautiful part of our country with these experiences being right on our doorstep.