A young fella, his dog and a chopper.
350kg is the weight limit on this trip Steve Woods mentioned as we planned the filming of Adventure #3 - oh shit I thought! 3 fellas, dogs, camera gear and more and look out 350kg
Don't invite any big fellas Steve suggested with a sly grin! Right - I needed another midget to keep the weight down and I knew a little fella that would be perfect.
Adventures don't come much better than this I told my 13 year old! How will we swing 4 days away from school and get it past your mother and the school? "I'll probably learn more out hunting" he quickly replied with a cheeky grin and so it was settled!
The next 2 weeks whizzed by and with a meager amount of gear and food packed we headed south to Opotiki Helicopters to load up and fly in with Steve.
Seeing the nervous look on the young fellas face Steve asked "First time in a chopper?" Don't worry he added Dads flown plenty of times so your up front with me and he is in the boot with the gear and dogs, you can tell him whats going on over the radio.
It was a long flight in from Opotiki to Ruatoria and the young fella got the grand tour as we tracked over the Motu river and Mangatutara stream on the way there. Normally a few deer on this ridge squawked the headphones as I did my best impression of a contortionist packed in the back among dogs and camera gear and bags. 'That ones huge" shrieked Rusty excitedly as I stared intently at the mountain of gear in front of me and imagined what they were seeing up front. There's more yelled Rusty....... and pigs , look at all the pigs. I sat grinning as his commentary got more and more animated and I thought to myself there aren't many 13 year old boys doing this on a school day!
After settling into the hut we decided a quick look around was in order. What a mistake that was.....4 pigs were quickly spotted only 100 mtrs from the hut and with at least 15 deer on the ridge behind them I struggled to stay looking and started grabbing out gear - I had thoughts of loading up and getting right into it. With the light fading and after being sternly reminded by our cameraman that it would be better filming in the morning we slunk back in to the hut. Sleep was a short lived effort of tossing and turning with thoughts of pigs and deer keeping me awake. The next 4 days raced by and before I knew it I was bundled back into the chopper. The 35 min ride home gave me plenty of time to relive the trip, Steve had only bought in 2 sets of headphones so as I sat in silence in the back surrounded again by bags and dogs I looked over and watched as a young fella sat gobsmacked looking out at the landscape and animals. It didn't take long to realize that I was witnessing the start of a lifetime addiction - it doesn't get much better than this and I knew the only cure was more adventures.