It was my birthday weekend, and I like to swim in cold water on my birthday. It’s handy as my birthday is in winter so there is a lot of cold water around.

We decided on a nice tramp to a lake, 6 hours to a hut, a nice swing bridge over the river, nothing too strenuous and I should have time for a quick dip in the lake on the way past. It’s a dog friendly track so my little dog Flynn came along.

I checked the weather, it was pretty good, due to start raining on Sunday afternoon which was OK. We left intentions with a friend and swapped emergency contacts.

The morning of the tramp my friend and I left a little late. That was OK though.

The directions to the trail start were wrong. But that was OK, we got there, even if it was a little later.

Off we set, the going was a bit slow as there was a lot of storm damage to the track, but that was OK and we were having fun.

We stopped for lunch, and my cooker seal had failed so there was a giant kerfuffle as the gas caught fire. It was OK as I had packed another cooker (it was just a casual overnight, and dinner was going to be easier with two pots).

While we were dealing with that the bloody dog helped herself to the lunch cheese, that was devastating but OK as we had plenty of snacks.

After a while we came to two surprise river crossings. We crossed it, my friend fell right near the end of the second one but she was OK and we carried on.

We ended up tramping in the dark as we were so slow, and we were using up the spare snacks from being out so long but that was OK. I didn’t have time for my swim as when we got to the lake it was too late.

Then it started raining and things were getting less OK. We finally got into the hut 12 hours after we left the truck. We were cold and wet, and found there was no dry firewood. We changed into our dry clothes and went straight to bed.

The next morning, I made The Very Bad Call. Instead of going back over the damaged track and river crossing I decided we should go over the tops and out that way as it was much shorter. But we were much, much too slow and by the time we got up there we were very tired and very cold and it started snowing.

I felt so sick when I realised that I had taken my friend and put her in real danger as she was cold, wet, tired, getting a bit stumbly and grumbly and we were hours from the hut. I made a good call to go back to the hut and stay another night and go out the original track the next day. However, I started thinking about whether a cold & hungry night would revitalise her enough to make the long trip back out safely and that’s when I decided to push the button right then and there.

Very quickly (within an hour) the chopper arrived, we put out our bright coloured things as soon as we heard it and packed everything securely away once they had seen us. The crew were amazing and so quickly we were safely back at the truck ready to drive home. I’m so grateful to them, and we were so very relieved to be back at the truck, warm and dry and on our way to get a hot pie!