School camp aged 12 (form 1). Overnight bush bash out the back of Castle Hill village somewhere (still not sure where). Me and some classmates had an instructor who took us out in the middle of nowhere and made us walk back to the school lodge. We ended up sleeping as a group under a fly overnight but I suspect that the route would have only been a few hours if we had taken a direct route - lots of strange turns up a ridge, down a creek, cross it and follow a second creek back up etc. Wet cold and horrible, but it didn’t put me off and I did a longer tramp (to a hut) one year later on my own time with a local youth group.
Interesting reading the contributions above. Makes me feel nostalgic for days gone by that will never return. In so many ways we were incredibly fortunate to grow up in an almost empty country with so few constraints on us.
I can't pick an exact 'first tramp'. It just sneaked up on me, family camping holidays, Scouting camps, days walks ... I do recall my father and I driving up to Mangetepopo one evening and watching the dull glow of a fresh lava flow on the side of Ngaurohoe. And a day trip to Ketetahi.
My first proper tramp was probably a scout trip into Crosby's Clearing in behind Thames over Easter. I took a great interest in the loss of the Swedish couple many years later feeling a strong connection to the place. (Personally I think they got lost in the very confusing ground north of Table Mountain.) Then across to an old NZFS hut somewhere in the Waiwawa River now long gone, and then over into the Kauaeranga River. Main memory was the endless rain and the massive wild blackberry pies we cooked up one afternoon!.
Then a May school holiday trip. Two of us cycled on our school bikes from Auckland to National Park and spent the next ten days in the park. Had a wonderful time with the entire place virtually to ourselves. It's hard to imagine how privileged this was today. Hopped on the midnight train back home. The NZR guard took one look at us cold and grubby, stuck us on top of the mail bags and fed us hot tomato soup. (Wasn't the last time the NZR people earned a soft spot in my heart either.)
Got back in to Auckland on a cool grey dawn, cycled home through a waking city, had a bath and went to school. Never mentioned the whole adventure to a soul.
This post has been edited by the author on 6 October 2017 at 20:49.
i did several bushcraft trips in cadets with FMC instructors.
they really knew their stuff and they were hard and serious , no nonsense instructors. you paid attention and listened, they knew their stuff, they drove us a bit. I aspired to be a competent tramper like them. bushcraft almost seemed like a code to follow. the rules of the game. there was an obligation to be competent and not to be a burden on others, to be self sufficient, to think, be rational and be a team member.
they werent relaxing trips. they were designed to maximise what we learned while we were out there.
and they were cheap trips, being cadets we got wet rations provided by the defence force. cans of "dog food" and "dog biscuits. and dark dark chocolate", cant remember if we paid for the bus trip. It would have been worth paying good money to put kids through a course like that.
one of the instructors would walk fast from karori into town and back every day to get to work.
My parents were quite involved with the Wellington YHA back in the 70's so I was out camping and tramping with the family from a very early age. The first trip I can remember was when I was 6, it was an overnight trip to Atiwhakatu hut (the old one, which was reasonably new back then) up the track then back down tramping and floating on tyre tubes in the stream. A huge amount of fun climbing up rocks and jumping into pools and drifting along. It was bloody freezing though and I was very happy to lie in the sun at Donnelly Flat afterwards.
My Koro used to take me up the kawhatau for fishing trips since as long as I can remember. Pitching the tent and spending a weekend. We would walk for what seemed like hours but was probably only a km or two.
Climbing hills was just part of life in taihape.
My godfather was a forestry hunter for the nzfs during the late 70s early 80s so I grew up in awe of him. All I ever wanted to do was explore the mountains like him
Teenage years saw the odd tramp mainly to just get away with mates, it was just a chance to express the freedom of youth. We didn't even know we were tramping lol.
My first solo tramp was a real wake up. I remember tramping in the tararua on a blue bird day. I felt good so pushed on until I was buggered. Lo and behold the weather turned, big time. The heavens opened up and I was forced to pitch up in dense bush. My single skin tent flooded and I slept in a soaked pit. Pools of water filled my tent. I sobbed. I woke up the next day hike to the trail head and vowed to never do that again.
A week later I was back in the hills.
Every trip into red line territory feels like a first tramp. That's why I love it.