Our trekker of the month is Tricia McGrath, who has now completed two treks with Across the Divide. We asked Tricia some questions about her treks, motivation plus much more.
1. What made you want to do a charity challenge?
I’d done one before to Patagonia for Dublin Simon but this time I wanted to do it for another charity, Barretstown
2. Why did you choose Peru?
Peru has been on the wish list for some time, mainly because of Machu Picchu and the history of the Inca people. Also of the choice of open charity hikes Peru was top of the list. Some of the people on the Patagonia hike had glowing reports of the Peru trip so that also made the decision easy.
3. Why did you choose ATD?
I’d been on a previous hike with ATD in Patagonia and really loved the way they plan and deliver the hike. It’s first class all the way, camping, food, knowledge, local guides etc etc. In addition I’ve always felt safe and looked after on their hikes.
4. Which charity did you raise funds for and the reasons why?
I raised the funds for Barretstown Gang Camp in Co. Kildare – a Hole in the Wall Gang Camp who help rebuild lives affected by childhood cancer and other illnesses. I have been a volunteer “cara” (meaning “friend” in Irish) for Barretstown for the last number of years. I mainly choose to volunteer for the bereavement camps and asked that the funds I raised be allocated to these camps. In my opinion the camps give families who have been bereaved a chance to share that grief with others who have lost loved ones and a space where it’s normal to laugh and cry in equal measure. Barretstown is a fab place, one of the most wonderful and life enhancing places to spend time in and where, as a volunteer, you experience the magic and “get” way more than you give.
5. Tell me a bit about your training and fundraising?
For me the challenge of doing a charity hike is in the fundraising (the hiking is the easy bit!)….and yes at times you say to yourself that I’m never doing this again but in the end you reach the target and it all seemed fine! In terms of fundraising I ran the mini marathon, bag packed, ran a table quiz and got people to sponsor me all with the help of great friends and family. As I said the training part was easy. I’m a volunteer ranger in the Dublin Mountains so that helped in clocking up distance walking and then I also jog some afternoons and do some yoga and gym work in the winter.
6. Best thing about the trek?
Without doubt walking through the Sun Gate and seeing Machu Picchu for the first time. I found it quite emotional but also had a real sense of I’m here now after all the fundraising and training. That memory will stay with me for ever……………………..but I loved every minute of the trek.
7. Worst thing about the trek?
God that’s difficult, if I had to pick something it would be the packing and re-packing of our bags (day pack and duffle bag)!
8. Best bit of kit you took
The sleeping bag and silk liner……..both really good ones and borrowed from a friend, absolutely essential for the cold nights
9. Joke/funniest moment of the trek?
The doctor’s birthday cake!…………we found out on the day of his birthday that it was the doctor’s birthday and a request was put into the “kitchen” to work their magic on the side of the mountain with very limited resources. Out came a beautifully presented cake, decorated with minstrels (compliments of Johnny) and red “stuff” which we assumed was jam but in fact turned out to be tomato ketchup!!!!!!! (it WAS dark!)
10. One thing you’d recommend to anyone thinking about going on a charity challenge?
Stop the thinking and start the doing…………..it’s an unforgettable experience that will live long in your memory way after the hike. Give yourself loads of time to fundraise and start the training slowly but definitely train on the mountains. Once you commit to it the rest will fall into place.
11. One thing you’ll take away with you
It’s hard to pick one thing……..but if I had it would be the “long” day and the craic we had as a group
12. Was there good camaraderie amongst the group?
Absolutely, it was a fabulous group, loads and loads of laughter and fun. I feel privileged to have met and experienced Peru with our gang.
13. Can you sum up the trek in a sentence…..?
Yes (with difficulty!)…..Peru was a truly amazing trip, stunning scenery and fascinating history, a pleasure to have met and experienced with the group of people on the trip and everything was made easy by ATD, so simply put its a trip I’d highly, highly, highly recommend.
Thank you very much Tricia for sharing with us your tales of your Peru trek. If this has inspired you to take on the challenge of Peru why not join us next year?