I'll never forget my trip to Nelson Lakes because the friendships and confidence I got from it will stick with me forever. When you’re 1600 metres high in the air and about to trip over the side but someone grabs your pack and saves you it’s kind of hard not to have at least mutual respect after that.
The first day is definitely the most tiring but the most rewarding as you can see how far you've walked and got the rest of the day/night to play spotlight or just sit around the hut. The views along the second day are so distracting. I won’t go into detail about how many times I got distracted and fell over or almost walked off the side of the track if it wasn’t for someone holding onto my pack because of how amazed I was at the views. You can see the ocean! The walk too, and waking up at Lake Angelus hut was my favourite part of the trip because the lake is like glass and perfectly reflects the snowy mountains surrounding in the morning. If you’re lucky there’s snow low enough to play in. Also, the drop offs from the steep mountains were the cleanest.
The friendships I made through this trip are amazing and the things you make up just to entertain yourself because there’s no cell phone reception are hilarious. You’ll never forget! most of all I love how it made me feel after realising how much I’d done and how I’d literally, but safely, put my life in danger to do it, which is why I was hoping to do it again this year as a senior mentor, but I got kicked out to Queen Charlotte because of the limited space /in huts and campsites. I hope anybody on this trip doesn't take for granted how amazing it is and that you seriously thank the people who guide you along because it wouldn't be possible without them.
By Caitlin Bates