'Awesome' two-day hike to town

It feels like summer is nearly here! Nice long, hot days at the moment. Although there is very little water around, the garden is already out. I have just returned from an awesome trip to town, which started with a two-day hike into the Mt Richmond Forest park ranges.

We started at the Pelorus Road end, went past the Emerald pools, Captains and Middy huts and stayed the night at Rockfell hut. Along the way our dogs Chase and Bail looked for mice and rats, finding a few as we walked. We crossed swing bridges and had a refreshing swim in the Pelorus river amongst the sandflies.

I went with my friend Mariska, who also brought her two border collies, Snapper and Zoe, so we were quite the group with four dogs!

There were wonderful views from Rockfell hut, which we shared with two Conservation Department workers, two American trampers and a British hiker. The dogs were tied up on the deck outside, Bail deciding to bark at a rat in the middle of the night, which woke everyone up.

The next day we got up bright and early as we still had to walk to Aniseed Valley. I think the pack was feeling pretty tired by the time we reached the valley beyond Richmond. It had, after all, been a 16-hour walk over two days. Plenty of rat hunting along the way as well. We arrived in Aniseed Valley by 2pm and Mariska's partner, Mike, picked us up and we drove back to their place. We showered and dressed and were straight off to Blenheim again for the Kiwibank Local Hero award presentation at the Brancott Estate.

I was one of six recipients of this year's medal and it was an awesome and humbling experience. It felt strange to be standing next to such achievers; it was a real honour. I'll definitely cherish that moment forever, and it inspired me to work even harder for the environment in the Marlborough Sounds. So a big thank you to the Kibblewhite family from Blenheim who nominated me! It had been a huge surprise and awesome to be part of the event.

The Marlborough Express