Posted by Brian Klee on Jul 15, 2021
One of my interests leading up to my teenage years was scouting.  It got me fascinated in the outdoors as I began working towards the Queen’s Scout award.  To walk as much of our beautiful country as I can, still happens.
 
In those early days I lived in Palmerston North, hiking most of the Tararuas and a little of the Ruahine range.  I had one near death experience while walking up the Mangahoa stream near Shannon doing a trip to the Ohau gorge. 
I slipped backwards off a rock, head-first into a deep pond and got stuck between two boulders.  My heavy 3-day pack was strapped around my waist, so struggling to undo it and then return to the surface in one breath, was very scary.  My two mates were fixated on jumping rocks upstream and had not missed me!
 
Work, relationships, marriage, children, and other interests like football & theatre then took precedence.  This was until our son Aaron joined scouts in the mid-80’s, and I became a scout leader.  Once again it was a new life of tramping and camping activities.  In fact, for 4 years Mary and I took the whole scout troop away the week before Christmas to various locations outside of the Hutt Valley.  These included camp areas near Milson, Pahiatua, and the National Park.  We also spent one Easter exploring the Marlborough Sounds and showed the scouts the Outdoor Bound Centre at Anakiwa.  I will never forget how cold the water was when we all jumped off the wharf down there that year!
 
 
Fast forward to 2009 when I heard about the Milton Rotary tramping club and their annual programmes.  The first two were the more strenuous Routeburn/Greenstone and the Milford Tracks, and then it was the out-and-back day trips based at the Catlins/Tayutuku Lodge, and Borland Lodge; In addition, I cycled the Otago Rail Trail with them and friends I met doing the Routeburn/Greenstone tramp, easily tempted me to do the wonderful Lake Waikaremoana walk.
   
Late December 2019, I heard that a small group of Rotarians with Port Nicholson were planning to do Tararua's Southern Crossing.  Going home, the Tararua's in the distance had always been a fascination - to view the reverse, down the Hutt Valley to Wellington Harbour.  It didn't take me long to ask if I could come and join them.  So late January 2019 we were taxied to Otaki Forks where we started.  It was 3 very hard days and I oversold my fitness.  What's more we got none of the expected views because we battled gale force winds and only 2-metre visability. 
 
Encouraged by John Cole, I joined Probus, who also has a very active walking group that gets around many of the sites around greater Wellington once a month, that also includes Jaye, Tony, Mike and occasionally Colin.  Then in January next year, we have booked to walk the Hollyford Track and then at Easter, Mike Fackney and I have registered to do another of the Milton Rotary Tramping trips, their Mt Aspiring Lodge programme.
 
As long as I am physically able, I want to see as much of New Zealand as I can.
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