The scenery of New Zealand is best explored on foot, just like how Frodo and the Fellowship traversed Middle Earth on foot in their quest to destroy the One Ring. One of my favorite moments studying abroad in New Zealand Fall 2018 through UCEAP has always been taking in the view from the top (while discreetly taking a deep breath) after I finally reached the summit of my latest long and tiring hike. The photos shown are from my weekend excursion up Little Mount Peel with the Canterbury University Tramping Club.
When I first joined the club, I really did not know what I signed up for. Every weekend, I’d hop aboard a van going somewhere, end up in the middle of nowhere, hop over a farmer’s fence or two, and start walking. That “walking” would somehow warp into crossing small streams, jumping up steps that are the same height as my knees, and to my dismay, encountering some sort of incline in any trail I took. When I would inevitably fall behind, it was easy to strike up a conversation with the other stragglers because we could bond over our mutual suffering from sore muscles and shortness of breath. I got to know three of my close study abroad friends this way and we still keep in contact to this day.
I am glad that the club was the one to handle all the tramping logistics. Because if I had known just how long I would have to walk, the treacherous terrain I would have to walk through, how steep the hike was, or how sore I would be for the next couple of days, I probably would not have all these pictures to show. I would have doubted my capability to complete the tramp and so I would not have joined the excursion in the first place. But by not knowing what I had gotten myself into, I ended up surprising myself with just how far I could walk and by the unexpected friendships I forged along the way. Once I completed a hike up and down a mountain with the club, it became easier for me to seek out longer hikes to undertake and taller mountains to climb on my own, one of which was the Tongariro Alpine Crossing (where Mount Doom is!)…but that is a story for another day.