Ankle injury calls halt to charity bush walk

LIBBY WILSON
Last updated 09:14 11/08/2014
Adam Chambers
BRUCE MERCER/Fairfax NZ

ANKLE TROUBLE: An injury has put a temporary halt to Australian Adam Chambers’ walk from the bottom of New Zealand to the top.

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About 900km from the finish of a walk from one end of New Zealand to the other, Adam Chambers had to deploy his emergency locator beacon.

A misstep shortly before Pirongia meant the 23-year-old from Adelaide once again had to halt his trek, a fundraiser for the Fred Hollows Foundation.

Since late June he's found himself on Hamilton friend's couch instead of forging north on the Te Araroa walkway.

"I was crossing over a fence stile . . . I was stepping down off one of those and there was a piece of wood which had been overgrown by grass. I half stepped on that, which caused my ankle to roll and did some damage," he said.

"Definitely glad I finally got to use that piece of plastic [locator beacon] that I've been carrying with me all this time."

He waited a couple of hours in the rain for help to arrive - but says that was preferable to waiting several days for his emergency contact to notice he hadn't arrived in Hamilton on schedule.

He's still on crutches now, with a severe sprain to his right foot and an avulsion fracture.

"That is essentially when the ligament that is attached to this bulgy bit of the ankle has ripped off a piece of bone from the ankle."

But he's working hard keeping himself busy, including by making peanut butter and cheesecakes.

"I would go crazy for sure if I didn't have at least some things I could do. Even if it takes me five hours to make a cheesecake, I do have the time to hop around the kitchen."

This isn't the first injury to set him back on a trip planned to push his limits - he's also had a dislocated shoulder, ripped-up feet and lost toenails, a knee injury and managed to knock himself out in the Ruahine Ranges.

"I was very fortunate in the sense that I landed in a puddle of water so cold it woke me up very quickly. So I woke up after a few seconds and my eyebrow was bleeding," he said.

"That really, really shook me."

But there have been great moments too, including "Kiwi generosity" and views from Mount Richmond Forest Park in the upper South Island.

And with around 2400km under his belt, the lover of New Zealand back country is determined to finish what he came here for.

For Chambers the Fred Hollows charity, which aims to stop avoidable blindness worldwide, was a perfect fit.

"I've lived with visual impairment all my life," he said.

As a youngster he had amblyopia, also called lazy eye, he has always worn glasses, and glaucoma runs in his family.

To follow Chambers or donate, visit rambleon.co.nz

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- Waikato Times

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