21 January 2014
After tramping more than 3000 kilometres around New Zealand, a newly promoted Army officer now plans to swim with whale sharks, learn to tango and explore both Alaska and Antarctica.
These are some of the remaining items on Lieutenant Colonel (LTCOL) Pat Beath’s adventurous ‘bucket list’ after he spent the past five months walking the Te Araroa Trail from Cape Reinga to Bluff for his charity of choice SHINE.
As he walked out of the Queen Charlotte Sound on Monday, the last leg of his return trip to Wellington, he had banked more than $2000 for Safer Homes In New Zealand Every Day (SHINE) that supports victims of violence.
“Last year, I returned from a nine-month deployment to the Solomon Islands where I served as the Senior National Officer (SNO) for the Defence Force and while I was there I visited a shelter for victims of domestic violence and felt I wanted to do something to raise awareness about this global problem,” he said.
While there were many highlights during his five-month tramp, it was a phone call received when coverage allowed that was one of his most memorable moments.
“I had just finished an amazing section of the walk and arrived at Kinloch Lodge at Lake Wakatipu when I received a call from a senior officer from Defence Headquarters telling me I had been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel by the Chief of Army – it was a very special moment.”
The Wellington man has had plenty of time to contemplate his new promotion while traversing the country. He spent Christmas in Arthur’s Pass and New Year’s Eve at Anne Hut on the St James walkway.
“I recall at one point feeling completely drained, sitting in the pouring rain on a steep and muddy slope with hours of effort ahead of me, wondering what I had gotten myself into. I never contemplated giving up though.”
Highlights included the Northland forests, coming ‘home’ to the Tararuas and the picturesque South Island Lakes District.
“I think I prefer being on the tops of ridges rather than the valleys, and I have been very fortunate in meeting some amazing people from all walks of life and countries.”
Now LTCOL Beath needs to readjust to “normal life”, though he’s not prepared to part with his hammock-bed.
“It’s just the best night’s sleep so I’m contemplating selling my bed, but we’ll see.”
* To donate to LT COL Pat Beath’s charity go to http://kiwiscoutwalksteararoa.blogspot.com.au