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For as long as I can remember, I’ve looked up from home at that triangle of green bush and tussock tops called Waiopehu. One day its emerald, next it’s snow covered, while somedays its missing altogether, hidden under the mist.



Over the years I’ve convinced myself I should be able to get up there, my legs work fine, not everyone’s do you know. So a walk up to Waiopehu Hut was not just on my bucket list, but kind of an obligation. I found myself continuously saying, maybe next year then?



This year I had no excuses. I’d joined a ‘Pretty Tough’ team of girls in training for an adventure race, have a husband way fitter than me and this other guy who knew a bit about getting through the bush in one piece said he’d come along . With that kind of support crew around me I’d finally run out of excuses…



Early last Saturday the team convened at our house, one last check of packs and gear then we were off! The first sign to greet us was the DOC one at the bush edge. “Waiopehu Hut 5hrs” All uphill. This is going to be tough I thought. Then as the day unfolded and the bush revealed it’s secrets I became so immersed as the day progressed. What a privilege it is to have such stunning wilderness right at our backdoor and to be free to use it.



The last few metres as I crested the ridge to stand beside the hut were unbelievable. I’d made it! I know so many trampers may scoff at my efforts, but for me this was an achievement, something I’d dreamed about doing for so long.



So thanks to everyone who looks after these special places, you know who you are.



Yeah the legs hurt a bit, but pain is temporary, especially when you get a day like that one.



Nga mihi nui



Jacqui Kerins

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