The North Otago Tramping and Mountaineering Club hosted guided walks on the tracks in the Herbert Forest about 20 minutes south of Oamaru, on 14 April 2019, and seven of our members took part.
A variety of walks were on offer, from one to four hours duration. We, along with some Oamaru people, chose the longest one. Each walk was accompanied by at least two NOTMC members, well kitted out with emergency supplies and portable radios for contact with local search and rescue personnel back at the base.
The walk we did was most interesting, through a wide variety of types of bush (including one of the last remnants of podocarp forest on this side of the alps), stream beds and open country. Gradients were gentle. We had lunch at the top of the track where the bush cover ended, then traversed some open areas before returning to the bush to complete the circuit.
The last part of the trip turned out to be more eventful than we had anticipated. A lady from Oamaru developed severe cramp which could not be resolved with any of the remedies the combined group had on hand, and it became so severe that she could not move. We had quite a wait at the side of the track while contact was made with the base and a stretcher was brought in. Fortunately we were not too far from the end of the track and the terrain was mostly flat, making it easier for the stretcher-bearers. All members of the group took turns helping stretcher the lady out. By the time we got back to the base the lady was starting to feel quite a bit better.
It was a well-organised day in an area with a good variety of walks on offer. All our group (Adriane H., Barry R., Christine S., Kaye and Lindsay H., Lateef A. and Graham W.) enjoyed a good day out – despite the little twist at the end!