Late in the afternoon after we had ben swimming in lake twice the air grew thicker and smoke began wafting across the campsite. The owner of the camp Tony, came around frantically pedalling his bike with a petrified look on his face and a rather startling message: "BE PREPARED!" he shouts. "BE PREPARED!"
"Perpared for what?" asks Chris, my uncle.
"To evacuate"Tony replied.
"From what?'' questions Chris.
"There is a fire-''
"A FIRE!" we all exclaim.
"Out on the hills 2 km away,'' continued Tony.
I was staggered by this information. Not only was it 10 days after Christmas but all my brand new toys I had received for Christmas were still sitting on the floor of our tent.
Mum immediately started packing the car with the essentials : blankets, food and water.
My cousins immediately did the same. Meanwhile I sat down to think about what was going to happen to my bike and the tent. At this point fear, stone cold blooded fear began to circulate around my already frozen body. It was simply unbearable!
Right, the car was packed with essentials and us and, ... oh great, the car wouldn't start!! The battery was flat and my Dad had the jumper leads but he, predictably, was out fishing. So Mum had to call him. We prayed to God he hadn't forgotten his phone! Mercifully he had his phone and was immediately at the campsite. In a jiffy we were off to the fish farms, (now you're probably wondering why we didn't just go to the lake ... well there are a whole lot of pine trees and if the fire didn't kill us the smoke would).
The drive to the fish farm seemed to last forever. There was only one thing that, in this do or die situation coud calm me... ginger beer! Finally when we arrived my Dad and my other Uncle, Kelvin immediately started to fish while the rest of us had climbed up a steep hill to get a better veiw of the fire. Helicopters had started to pour huge buckets of water over the fire while my 15 year old cousin, Callie had decided to rearrange her 3 bags of clothes and her sister, Kelsey and Elenoa had decided to take some photos! I, meanwhile had discovered something tragic, my teddy Sparkle was still in the tent!! Now to you that probably sounds a bit silly, it may sound pointless, but to me it means everything. I have had him since my birth. My Grandma (1935-2010) had bought him for me. I yelled to Mum, "Mum where's my teddy?!" She replied, "I dont know!"
Meanwhile Uncle Chris had managed to get lost because he left 5 minutes later! My Dad scrambled out to find him. Some 20 minutes later he returned to say it was safe to return to the camp site as they had managed to get the fire under control.
The trip back to camp was a rather relaxing trip especially when we found that Chris had made it to the camp safely and that he'd left 5 minutes later because he was trying to get his beloved chilly bin full of beer into his car!
The aftermath was truly staggering. It had mutated the clouds to become a bright red slash in the already amazing sky. The helicopters continued to patrol the fire site until they were certain it was safe.
The rest of our holiday was full of many laughs in which we forgot about the fire and in time it was time to pack up and say goodbye to the mighty Lake Ruataniwha Holiday Park.
The Mysterious Haze
|The Amazing Sky|