Tuesday, 27 November 2007

The Tramp...

Well I survived but not sure my legs have. I haven't walked properly since oh, about midday on Sunday (when there was still nearly another 4 hrs of walking!) Surprisingly my legs were totally fine on Sunday. It did only take 3.25 hrs to reach Powell Hut from Holdsworth car park on Sat but I found it tough going with a 1000m climb carrying a pack and being as unfit as I currently am. The weather was glorious so were very lucky there. It was pretty hot but as we were in the bush for most of it it was never too bad.

There was a bit of drama on the way up as we saw a rescue helicopter hovering above us. We weren't sure if it was a training exercise or a real rescue but before long we passed a woman all wrapped up and shivering like mad. It turns out that she'd broken her ankle but luckily she was with friends who were taking care of her. She was in great spirits however which was good to see. Unfortunatley she was surrounded by trees so helicopter just couldn't see her. In the end they found her by dropping a paramedic off about 100metres away and another bloke brought him back to the patient. The difficulty then was how to get her out! I didn't see the whole thing but based on what Dave saw (he walked back once we got to the hut to see if he could help... my body was in state of shock so couldn't move anywhere!) they had to move her down a bit and then winch her out through the trees! Apparently it was pretty cool to observe just because of the lack of accesabilty and stuff.

The hut was pretty good; it sleeps over 30 but there were only 8 of us there that night. We got a lovely sunset that evening with some beautiful colours in the sky. I took a bunch of photos but only a few even begin to capture how nice it was. Apparently the sunrise is fantastic there too but I wasn't getting up at 5:30am (awake or not!) to watch it :-)

There were of couple of passing visitors to the hut while we were there. One was an Eastern European guy whom we'd passed earlier. Very odd... he didn't acknowledge us when we passed him yet when he arrived we were looking at map for next days route and he walks over and starts asking about other routes! His planned route for the evening was to carry on and down to another hut. Apparently that particular route is a bit tricky and much less travelled but he wasn't listening to anyone... he had a compass so would be fine. It was pointed out that a compass wouldn't be much good if visibility dropped but he wasn't having any of that. To me the weirdest was when Dave asked if he had an emergency beacon. He went quiet for a bit and then asks the hut if anybody has an emergency beacon! I mean if someone was carrying an emergency then they have it for a reason and aren't going to hand it over to somebody else! Odd. Was quite relieved when he left! Our next pair of visitors were much more fun.. Squeezy and Jessie :-) The former was a really interesting and friendly bloke and Jessie was his tramping partner... his 3 year old dog with the bestest parts of all dogs in her. She was beautiful and so friendly. The funniest thing is that after she's got used to the hut she then becomes quite protective of it and doesn't like it when new folk arrive :-) They didn't stay the night as they were going to proceed in the moonlight across to Jumbo Hut!

On Sunday we set out at 8am and set off up towards Mt Holdsworth. From there it was a long and very very windy walk across to Jumbo and Jumbo Hut.

The above picture is our route along ridge from Holdsworth across to Jumbo.

Some beautiful and amzing views but as the wind got stronger and stronger I became less and less interested in the views. Probably fair to say that I wasn't the happiest that I've ever been. I also offloaded some of the stuff in my pack in to Daves (cheating I know but probably was the sensible thing to do considering). After a few hours it was quite a relief to sit in Jumbo Hut for a short break; just getting out of that horrible wind was all I wanted. I mean I know that if I did fall over I wasn't going to drop to my death but I guess it was just a lack of confidence thing. After leaving the hut we headed in to wooded area from which we started our descent. I was v happy initiallly here; no wind just balmy breeze with nice temperature. A few hours later my legs were no longer functioning properly. I kid you not... a continuous 700m drop took it's toll. My leg muscles haven't had such a workout in, well, I don't know how long! And I'm still feeling it! On finally reaching the bottom we arrived at Atiwhakatu Hut beside a lovely river. From here it was about a 2 hr walk walk out and it shouldn't have been hard but I struggled. Honestly, I didn't know if I could make it out but as alternative was to stay put and go nowhere I did. The biggest smile of the day was when I saw the jeep at the end of the walk nearly 8 hrs after leaving hut that morning :-) But the weather was beautiful on Sunday so that certainly helped. I mean how yucky would I have felt if it had been raining as well?!

The leg muscles are thinking about starting to recover (I hope) but otherwise no injuries or aches and pains which is fantastic! The conclusion is that I did enjoy the weekend without really having enjoyed the Sunday. Not sure that that makes any sense at all but I feel good (mentally at least :-) ) that I did it, and yes I think I might do another... though definitely one with a shorter and less difficult descent!

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