If you travel internationally you will have experienced the onset of goosebumps when you finally sight home - there's something magic about aotearoa. Of course, once you land reality strikes and it is often hard to replicate that nice warm feeling of well being.
Without wishing to sound soppy, if you had been at the NTCA Tree Climbers Gathering over the weekend you would have had that very same feeling of well being and joy.
The retro 3-strand prussic climbing comp on Saturday kept the 'adults' happy while Johno Smith and Zane Wedding (with help from random climbers during the day) kept the kids extremely happy in the tree playground on the speedline, slack line and novice speed climb.
Rossy Ross (Pro Climb ) and Drew Bristow provided the educational component with a Rigging with the Port-A-Wrap workshop. All funds generated from this workshop were donated to the NTCA Agathis Climbers Relief Fund.
Sunday was taken up with more kids activities and an excellent Climbers Open Forum led by international climber Scott Forrest.
An impromtu 'multi-climb' had seventeen climbers (nineteen climbers according to MOG) competing for a position in the work climb tree. Once everyone had managed to find their way through the tangle of climbing lines and ensconced themselves on a branch, a little 'hair of the dog' was sent aloft to celebrate. A dogfight ensued getting back to the ground.
If this is an example of how the NTCA plans to do things, the bar has been set very high indeed for future arborcamps. Everyone mucking in, kids (and adults) playing and enjoying themselves, plenty of food, robust debate and camaraderie. The ideas and climbing techniques exchanged in this informal, laid-back setting are invaluable - that was the inaugural NTCA Pakaraka Tree Climber's Gathering!
Thanks NTCA and to all the climbers and their families who came from as far away as Sweden, Holland, Canada, Australia, Christchurch, the Waikato, Auckland and Northland to make this event happen.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Take a look at the expression on the face of prominent Whangarei arborist Paul Gosling at the Pakaraka Gathering - need we say more!