Emerging from the rain

Gabrielle Kelly, left, and Apurva Kasture of Palmerston North, wet but no worse for wear.
Gabrielle Kelly, left, and Apurva Kasture of Palmerston North, wet but no worse for wear.

Two teenage girls who emerged from the Tararua Range a day after they were due home say they struggled to keep going as the rain continued to pour.

Apurva Kasture and Gabrielle Kelly, both 17, were in good spirits after finishing the eight-hour walk out of the bush yesterday, as their two fellow trampers await rescue.

Father and daughter Craig and Britney Rolston were airlifted from Te Matawai Hut this morning by the Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter. The pair had been unable to walk out because of injuries.

‘‘There were many times we
wanted to give up, but in the hills it’s not really an option,’’ Miss Kelly said.

‘‘We made ourselves keep walking,’’ Miss Kasture said.

The group had been due to come out on Sunday, but both Mr Rolston and his daughter injured their knees and could not walk.

The group’s trip began on Friday as a practice run for a final hike required for the girls to gain the Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award.

The Palmerston North Girls’ High School students said that after their setback, they would be choosing a different route for the real thing.

On Sunday, Land Search and Rescue volunteer Dennis Mark was dropped into the bush about 3 kilometres south of their location.

Bad weather prevented the helicopter from getting any closer and the storms had not eased by last night.

Mr Mark reached the group and accompanied the two girls out.

The girls said they were exhausted when they emerged, and were looking forward to a hot shower.

‘‘It was pretty tiring,’’ Miss Kas
ture said.

The pair considered remaining in the bush until they could be taken out by helicopter but decided against it.

‘‘Rather than waiting for the weather to clear up we thought we probably should get back to school,’’ Miss Kasture said.

‘‘You do learn a lot when you go tramping and certainly this time around was a learning experience – pack more dry clothes next time.’’

They said everything went as planned, apart from the injuries.

Mr Mark said the conditions were horrible for the trek, but the teenagers did it without complaint.

‘‘They were really good, they did remarkably well in the circumstances,’’ he said.

‘‘It was very wet and slippery, windy, with very low cloud.’’ Carol Rolston, whose husband and daughter remain in the bush, was not worried about their safety and had faith they would come out relatively unscathed.

‘‘She’s very fit, she’s very sporty, so she’ll just take it in her stride,’’ Mrs Rolston said.

‘‘The fact that she’s not walking out is probably disappointing for her.’’ She was glad the pair were warm, in a hut and had plenty of food.

‘‘They were well prepared,’’ she said.

Senior Constable Mike Tate, of Land Search and Rescue, said he hoped the weather would clear today for a helicopter to get in and pull the pair out.

‘‘They’re fine sitting in the hut,’’ he said.

‘‘I think they can hobble around the hut and look after themselves."

Manawatu Standard