Sunday, April 13, 2008

Background and Call to Peru

Background and Call to Peru
(Milford Sound, 1926)

In January of 1926 I accompanied my father on a walking trip to Milford Sound. We travelled by train to Lumsden and thence by bus to Lake Te Anau. The following day we went by launch to Glade House at the northern end of the lake and from there commenced the walk through some of the most beautiful bush scenery in the whole world. The trek took two and half days. The first half day along the Clinton River brought us to the Pampolona Hut where we spent the night. Provisions were constantly being taken on pack animals and very good meals were prepared and served by the guides in charge of each party. The second day took us over the McKinnon Pass to the Quinton Hut near the Sutherland Falls. Heavy rain fell during the day and the party was well and truly drenched by the time this place was reached. However the scenery had been magnificent and made up for any slight discomfort. Our guide soon had a blazing fire going before which to dry our clothes and in a remarkable short space of time was serving up a hot meal. An easy walk next day brought us to the last hut and the Sound itself. The scenery there was truly magnificent but there was only one snag. It was the sandflies, which existed in Plague proportions. Sandfly repellent was unknown in those days. So we just had to put up with them and develop our own technique of rhythmically swotting our faces, necks and hands. During our stay at the Sound we took a launch trip out to the heads calling at all the principle points of interest on the way. A remarkable feature of this Sound is the precipitous nature of the mountain sides, which fall perpendicularly into the sea so that vessels of the greatest draught could literally tie up to the trees as if to a wharf.

It was during a walk with my father through a delightful beech forest on the Sunday afternoon that he asked me if I had forgotten my missionary call. My reply was that I certainly had not but up to that time had received no clear indication about that line. However when such a call should come, I was prepared to act on it immediately. That call was not long coming.
Note: Sutherland Falls

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