It is another one of those fantastic winter mornings, waking before the light. Fortunately, the timers (for heaters in the flat) were set in anticipation we could prepare in the warm. All geared and fed we head for the Clyde Road carpark where a sleepy, yet cheerful welcome is given by all manner of dressed up creatures. After the initial briefing and disclaimer, around 300 competitors board busses to who knows where! Covertly, some of our Skype Interviewee team previously uncovered the location from the leg setters however hold their tongues, rightfully so.
Pulling into a siding not too deep in Arthur’s pass everyone scours the mountain identified on the recently provided maps. The starting horn goes, and everything turns to a bobbing mass of activewear, colours and cardboard. About half way up the second scree slope a lawnmower passes. You can never guess what TWALK brings out in some people – last year there was a space ship. Another 500 meters ascent and I am feeling buggered!
After finding all but two of the clues on the first leg we arrive at the hash-house, with a feed from the fantastic volunteer cooks and a new set of clues, our team prepares for leg two. Turns out that the costume of suit jacket and boxers worked a treat. The matagouri were not able to penetrate the weave of op-shop suit textile.
Through legs 3 and 4 energy levels began to wane. Pushing through the night section of the competition, navigation became crucial for pinpointing control point locations. Come the end of leg 3 I’m sure there were 3 teams of us all bunched looking for the same clues. Many half functioning brains made light work. Taking a moment, I managed to appreciate all the little lights as head torches trekked over the countryside. The base medical team having a steady stream of minor injuries to keep them busy. Paraphrasing here; the joint misery achievable on a weekend of epic highs and painful lows earns TWALK a special place in the yearly calendar where people can come together and compete in an extended adventure.
Finishing up the competition in the late morning a spectrum of abilities became abundantly clear. The best teams were getting back after a good attempt at the 2000 m climb of leg 5 (a bit closer to attempting everything this year. A well set TWALK should be incompletable, but only just). With the big red clock counting down the seconds the last team arrives, out of breath, in time to save any late penalties. The standard prizes are handed out at the prize giving, with best student team going to a pair of keen beans who signed up in the last hours before closing.
With a massive thank for the use of the property and barn we all fell asleep on the buses back to Christchurch. It is because of the generosity of farms managers and owners around the region that TWALK can continue. A huge thank you to them for allowing this grass-roots competition to endure.
TWALK MUFFIN RECIPE
It has to be said that there isn’t much in life that’s sweeter than a piping hot muffin, fresh from the oven. That being said the only thing better is said muffin, 10hrs into twalk, in a smelly old wool shed. And so I present to you the Twalk Muffin recipe of 2019!
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used almond)
- 1/4 cup oil (canola or melted coconut oil)
- 1 cup frozen fruit (blueberries, raspberries, etc)*
- Preheat the oven to 204 Degrees C
- Line muffin pan with baking cups
- Mix all ingredients (except the fruit) together in a large bowl. I suggest doing all the dry ingredients first and then adding the wet ones.
- Gently fold in the fruit
- Bake for 25-30 minutes
*For chocolate muffins, omit fruit and replace with 2 tbsp Cocoa Powder + ungodly amount of chocolate chips