Track Talk – April 2013

Three years ago I became chief guide, and I’m pleased to be on the verge of relinquishing this title to Mike Phethean. Not pleased because I’m sick of it or have stopped enjoyed it, but because I believe that roles need to turn over in clubs like ours to avoid institutionalism. New eyes tackle things in new and innovative ways, and I know that Mike will do a great job! For me, chief guide has been a constant while everything else in my life has changed, and there’s been a certain comfort in its routine of tasks. But now I’m looking forward to focusing on some other aspects of club life, including instruction courses, which I’ve become passionate about.

When you are chief guide you’re aware of all the work that many people do in myriad ways to make our activities successful. A big thank you to all our leaders and to everyone else who serves our unique community. There are some more specific thank yous in the Annual Report, which I’m sure you have all diligently read.

At the moment we’re in the middle of pulling together the Winter schedule. I’ll be completing the leader-finding portion of this job before handing it over to Mike, so please make sure you’ve given it some serious consideration! There are lots of opportunities for interesting trips, including some good navigation trip suggestions. You don’t have to be a navigation guru to lead one of these trips, so think about giving one a go. There’s a great way to improve your off-track skills, and the difficulty is commensurate to the grade (ie, an EM nav has an easier nav component than an M nav).

One thing that’s surprised me in the past year and half or so is how much I’ve come to enjoy off-track. I’ve gone from someone who was uneasy and nervous out of sight of a triangle to being relatively relaxed about 13 days in a Wildnerness Area! While I credit my GPS with removing some of that anxiety, it’s really the experience I’ve gained that has made the difference. The Tararuas is a great proving ground for off-track skills and I urge you to take advantage of the trips that we’ve dreamed up for this Winter.

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