Its great to have family around and our 1st Christmas in NZ since 2013 is celebrated this year with Robins parents and brother visiting. It is good to show them a kiwi Christmas that promises to be a warm day.
However before that I have just completed a 11 day wilderness expedition with 2 colleagues and 11 high school students in the Mt. Aspiring National Park & surrounding area. This expedition is called E3, bringing together Yr. 12 & 13 students, 3 organizations Scripture Union Arocha & Adventure Specialities Trust who all combine to play to their strengths of providing faith-forming experiences framed around wilderness adventure activities and the environment. All seeking to use the best teacher of all… the outdoors to help frame leadership, faith formation and community.
This post is Part 1, and I will post pics as I write more.
Day 1 was a big pick up & logistics day, that was spent packing food and picking up the youth from Queenstown airport and bus stops. We spent the evening outlining the expedition and how our time would be spent hiking, kayaking and mountain biking. Furthermore we decided what words we were going to use to describe our community and what was going to be important to us.
After a long day we were happy to be sleeping inside that night. Sunday was more prep and making sure we had the right gear, clothing and equipment. This was an expedition not a camp and we needed to ensure we had the right stuff for what ever the back-country was going to give us.
We would spend the 1st 6 days hiking in Mt. Aspiring NP completing the Young Valley- Gillespie Pass- Siberia- Wilkin Valley Route. Then we would re-supply with food and paddle for 2.5 days in sea kayaks down the Makarora River into Lake Wanaka and onto Minaret High Country Farm station. Finally rounding out our journey with 2.5 days of mountain biking along the shores of Lake Wanaka through various high country stations to finish in the town of Wanaka 11days later.
This journey had an element of certainty and mystery about it. With the knowledge that the students would be challenged in every way. However with some mystery in what the weather would throw at us and the by-products of life together in such close quarters and the simple things in life (like food, water, shelter) really now becoming super important. Then framing all those good, challenging and surprising circumstances around leadership, faith, outdoors and God’s creation and what that means for me and us.