We have just returned from an amazing three day tramp (hike for some of you) up in Tongariro National Park. Unusual to take a pile of children (ten) off into the mountains in the middle of winter I know, but it was just fabulous! Mainly because we stayed in Waihohonu hut a gorgeous, modern, large, warm, solar lighted lodge and extremely unlike any normal NZ tramping hut! Also because we had weather like you wouldn’t believe!! SUN!! Not a cloud for two days, no wind, nearly full moon, snow covered mountains lit by moonlight or brilliant sunshine.
It was quite overwhelming being surrounded by such beauty and I feel totally blessed to have been there and been a part of it all.
All ten kids, aged 3-13 were fantastic! They just loved it. They made snow huts and an igloo. We walked to a historic hut nearby, to some springs (cold unfortunately) up and down to the river and another older abandoned hut. We ate curry, soup, chocolate, drank tea & even whiskey! We played endless games of the most excellent Anagrams with our Bananagrams set (can highly recommend both games) and card games sitting in the huge, sun drenched picture windows.
It was such a treat to be away from cars, phones and computers (yes I know I have a blog now and should feel disloyal saying this…). Having to go out into the snow to the toilet was a treat – mainly so you could see the big moon illuminating the lunar type landscape.
Living together with a group of friends was wonderful. We created a mini community for a few days. Groups formed and re-formed to play a game or to have a walk to explore a different place. I love tramping with different friends, it creates a special memory and forms a special bond. I love to take children out into the big outdoors as well. It really seems to bring out the very best in them. As long as they have warm dry clothes and chocolate. One 9 yr old friend fell out of a high top bunk bed in the middle of the night and remembered nothing the next morning!
I am so heartened to see the children, all different ages playing together, being very inclusive, showing care and attention to the younger ones, who in turn think the older ones are just wonderful (which of course they are!)
We were so blessed with the weather and the freedom to get in the car and just go to such a beautiful place with wonderful friends.
Life is indeed great.