10 J share their Tautuku Camp experiences.
It was pitch-black as we walked along the leafy-gravel road, but I had my ‘yellow-light’ torch with me. We walked over a couple of bridges which let us see part of the night scenery. They’d put wires on the bridges so that we couldn’t slip. Our laughter echoed through the forest as we all tramped in our little groups. As we stumbled up the wooden steps, our shoes hit the gravel making loud crunching sounds. As we trudged up some more steps the seniors in front of us stopped and we came to a halt. They warned us that up ahead the path was covered in water from the waterfall and that we had to be careful while climbing up. I cautiously took my steps as I clambered forward. After everyone had caught up and were all huddled together, we turned off our torches and observed the hills on our right. Everyone went dead silent as tiny dots of lights appeared before us. I was amazed by how many glow worms there were and how pretty they were. I wished I’d brought my phone with me but that would ruin the fun. As we wandered higher up the path, I could hear the sound of water splashing against the rocks. When we reached the waterfall I gazed up at the sky, I was instantly drawn into the dark misty place that had blankets of twinkling stars covering it.
Natthanan Chanthasen (Tam)
I smelt damp, loose earth, salty air, sweat and burning cable. I saw rough rope, tough, unsecured floor, the underside of kid’s shoes, and the net! It was a long way away from me. I felt the slippery, wet, disgusting surface. Mud and dirt flew around me as I trudged along the soil. I tasted the dust from the ground and I tasted the zipline. I heard people talking, birds singing, the zipline zipping like the zip of my jacket. I heard people talking and laughing and the sound of footprints walking towards each other. I heard the sound of my shoes crushing and stepping on wood chips and sticks. I tasted the air that fumed like sweat and people’s breath. I felt the rope burning my hand.
I thought back to when we had arrived at the destination, I had felt scared at the start of the activity, but a while later Kayla and Summer convinced me to do it. So I got myself up and and put a harness on and moved up the steps. Mr Sewell had shown me and Kayla what to do. Some bits of the course were tricky, and some bits were easy.
I felt proud about finishing the course and so we hiked back to camp; I felt really hot and tired, so I took my beanie off and kept going.
All I could do was wait, just stand there and look at the nice landscape of the sea, hills and beach! I smelt the fresh air, and heard people cheering on others as they went down the side of the steep cliff. When it was my go, I felt the thick rope I had to hold, and felt the sweat on the rope from other people's hands. I felt the concrete wall under my feet as I quickly walked down. I smelt the horrible car smoke from the exhaust pipes of cars passing by. I heard birds tweeting and people cheering me on. Before I knew it, I was on the ground. I must have gone quite quick!
Thursday, the last full day but the best, and one of the greatest. The day everyone had been waiting for, the mud run! After lunch we got a bus ride to a dirt road. It was a long walk up hills through a valley and through a field full of prickles. My legs got scratched, my muscles hurt from walking so much. Everyone was hot and sweaty by the time we got up the last hill to go into the bush.
We got a bit into the bush and went through the start of the mud, not knowing that there was lots more to come. I could hear people screaming and laughing. Not too far along we got to a mud pit, some people got in and started throwing around mud. They were screaming, laughing and calling out "the mud is as cold as ice!' I didn't go in so the people that didn't go in left a bit sooner than the people that did. We carried on walking the track back to camp. It was even more muddier than it was at the start. Summer and I walked together and ran through most of it. My legs were sore but I was having too much fun to even acknowledge my legs. When we got back to camp Bailey was first to get hosed off but I wasn't too muddy so I washed my legs in the sink outside and ran to the shower. Some of the mud stained my skin. The walk was about three and a half hours but it was worth it in the end. It was the best thing!
I leap out of the van and my feet hit the hard, sharp gravel stones. I jump over the stones and boom, my feet sink into lovely, soft sand. I help Matua Tip and Keiran to get all of the kayaks and canoes down from the trailer. Finally all of group B is ready. Most of us take off. We go out onto the water. I could see the beach in the distance. I could also hear the roaring surf crashing onto the beach. All the water from the sea was rushing into the river because the tide was coming in.
We got on the water and after a couple of minutes a few people were carried by the current of the river under the bridge, but a lot of us made it further out into the river. We all come across a sand bank. It was so cool because the sand was up to my knees. I was like a kid in a ball pit, it was a lot of fun. BUT!!! The tide was coming in and the sand bank was getting smaller and smaller as the tide came in.
After all the fun we had, everyone helped pack the kayaks and canoes into the trailer. We all thought we had all the gear but two canoes were left behind. Then we all headed off back to camp.
The sound of my footprints against the muddy slimy ground makes a slurping, slopping gurgle. When I take a step the ground crumbles away as it has done for the many kids before me.
I look up at people above me climbing on the ropes. I’m excited, it’s my turn! I’m on the tree. I have my harness on and ready. I clip it on the rope. I take a step I wobble a little bit, taking a big breath in then another bigger breath and before I know it, it's over, the first one, this one's done. On to the rest!
I stood up and sighed, I knew it was going to be a long day, I knew I wasn’t going to get any rest. We stomped across the gravel path, my legs were aching and I had no water, well I’m silly, aren’t I? Not bringing a water bottle. All I could smell was sweat. We continued along the gravel path then we came to a hill, I just wanted to lie down and not move. My legs were hurting and I had nothing to drink, my bag was hurting my shoulders because I had been carrying it for a long time. In my bag I had a torch, a plastic plate, a bowl, a cup and cutlery! When we got to the campsite I sat down on a hard, small log and drank some water to refresh myself, I was lucky that there was water at the campsite.
Before we had dinner we left the campsite to go on a nearby track, we would be left outside, in the dark. I wandered along the path, distracted by thousands of small lights in the sky, trying to not fall over, I’m pretty clumsy. My friends and I were dropped off first, I finally had some nice, quiet relaxing time. I knew I wouldn’t get any quiet time for the rest of the camp so I took the opportunity.
In the morning sitting on the top bunk in the dorm I could smell a mix of sweat, girly deodorant and fresh air pouring through the open windows and door. I could see open suitcases with clothes tumbling out as people searched for what they needed. Rows of bunk beds filled the dorm, sleeping bags and pillows were thrown all over mattresses. I could feel the cold touch of metal bars on my skin and the itch of bites all over my body. I could taste insect repellent and deodorant in the air when I breathed. It was bitter and cold on my tongue.
In the night the sound of sleeping bags rustling and girls gossiping was loud. I felt sorry for the others trying to sleep. In the day it was warm but by night-time it was colder. I went to sleep hearing the buzz of flies and mosquitoes all over the place and slaps from the girls squashing them on their bodies.
My skin was cold for a while and it got colder. As I touched the water that was in my boat, goosebumps erupted from my spine and started to spread! Wind and laughter was in one ear and out the other. The smell of salt broke into my nose, I could even taste salt in my mouth. All I could see were kids in boats with paddles and the shiny reflection from the water. It almost blinded me. Also there was water in my boat - cold and wet like how I felt. Land is far but not too far. I can make it. There were other lucky kids on land around the place where I was. With land in sight something caught my eye; kids on a trail, then I said to myself “I wish I was there.” I wasn’t scared I was nervous being left behind as others safely got on land. Everyone was wet and happy apart from me dry and sad still out in the big blue sea.