Sarah completes her epic journey

KAT PICKFORD
Last updated 11:30 22/01/2013
OVERCOMING FEAR: Sarah Wilson, climbing Mt Cook as part of her Cook to Cook challenge.
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OVERCOMING FEAR: Sarah Wilson, climbing Mt Cook as part of her Cook to Cook challenge.

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Melanoma awareness campaigner Sarah Wilson completed the epic Cook to Cook journey yesterday, after nearly being killed in her first attempt in 2011.

Friends and family gathered on the beach and kayaked out to meet her as she paddled into Titahi Bay, near Wellington, yesterday, 17 days after her fundraising adventure began in Mt Cook National Park.

The former Marlborough Girls' College student was elated to end the journey, which involved climbing Mt Cook/Aoraki, cycling to Picton and kayaking across Cook Strait.

"It was pretty amazing paddling into Titahi Bay, a huge crowd of my friends and family were there to meet me," she said.

"I was totally stoked."

Although tired last night, she enjoyed a celebratory Radler, with the knowledge of a few days' decent rest to look forward to, she said.

"It's been an incredible journey, I'm very privileged."

On the first stage of the journey, Ms Wilson and Bridget Janse climbed to within 200 metres of Mt Cook's summit, before turning back because Ms Janse was suffering from food poisoning and the high avalanche risk.

Ms Wilson, Ms Janse were joined by another former Marlborough Girls' College student, Bronwyn Ward, for the 770-kilometre cycle from Mt Cook village to Picton.

Finally, Ms Wilson and her nephew Luke Wilson completed the two-day 60km kayak across the Cook Strait.

The adventure guide nearly died in an avalanche during her first attempt in 2011 while climbing Aoraki/Mt Cook and was rescued by her friend, Cat Shand, also from Marlborough.

The journey was to raise money for the Melanoma Foundation of New Zealand and promote awareness of the cancer, which can be difficult to detect.

Ms Wilson, who is a melanoma survivor herself, said last night that they had raised $5945.

They hoped to reach $10,000.

To read the full account of the journey or donate money to their cause, go to adventurecoaching.co.nz/blog.html.

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- The Marlborough Express

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