Sunday, 31 August 2008

It all went okay :)

Seems that I didn't pack too much (not clothes anyway) nor too little. I had a wonderful tramp with some of the best weather we've had in ages (i.e. it didn't rain!). Our weekend tramp started Camp Kaitoke where we took a track that let us join up with the Dobson Track. From there we walked along the Dobson Track before doing a relatively steep descent down to Smith Creek Shelter. Ordinarily when doing this walk you can go over Buffer Saddle and walk along Smith Creek to get to Smith Creek Shelter (shorter route) but due to all the tree fall DOC had closed that portion of the track. We ate a much enjoyed lunch by Smith Creek once we got to the bottom. The rest of walk consisted of a stream crossing (we ain't talking an Irish stream here... this was feet in water lark) which I thought had a relatively strong flow but I knew that by Kiwi standards it wasn't strong at all!
Marchant Stream Crossing

Once we'd crossed there we walked on a bit before I stopped to wring out my socks. Admittedly boots and feet still wet but the wringing out business does mean that you're not sloshing in boots and that makes a big difference! I had a near miss at one point where I stepped in to some seriously icky mood (there was lots of that but not all of it was deep) but luckily I managed to avoid falling over. It was close though! Lots more walking in water (but on for 2 or 3 steps) and I practised my long strides to try to completely avoid some some water where possible; not as easy as it sounds to do and keep balance when pack on back! We got to Tutuwai at 4:45pm yesterday afternoon which was about 6.5 hours after we set out so not bad.
Tutuwai Hut

I knew the return journey today was going to be harder as there would be the climb up to the Dobson track and of course because I was just a bit sorer (hip bones, ankle bones this morning though right now it's that plus right shoulder and my lower back is quite sore to the touch too). So, we had an early night last night. I listened to some Podcasts and Amanda read for a while. I have to admit the latter surprised me as she's so careful about weight in her pack but I can see how/why a book is important. But by about 8pm it was "torches out" for the night. Actually I wasn't nearly as sleepy as I expected to be but knew we'd be up early and I was getting cold. So I slept in two pairs of thermal long johns, two polyprop tops, a scarf and a had though the latter came off during the night! Fashion or appearances do not count on tramps, trust me :) Lots of waking up but at least i wasn't too cold (we reckon it hit about zero last night as there was lots of frost about this morning).

We were on the track by 7:45 though there was about a 10 min delay at our first stream crossing (Irish stream size) while we figured out how to get my camel pak bladder out of the container so I could dip it in stream to fill it up. It was a beautiful clear day but very cold; long johns on under shorts and gloves and I had my fleece on for about 45 minutes which surprised me. Again the views of the stream/river were just gorgeous. So many lovely trees, rocks... it's a beautiful area. The climb up to Dobson track (a number of hours later) took us about 1.25 hours with two 10 min breaks. I have to say that I did find this hard as I'm much slower going uphill and it's not just straight walk up it's lots of clambering over roots or using roots as steps to get up so it was relatively steep. I tried to look on positive side doing this which is that my long legs (don't think of them as that long!) allowed me to manage this easier than a shorter person. I also do believe that the climbing helped here (as it did at lots of other stages) as instead of just seeing a steep bank and going "how do I do this?" I look for places for my feet and trust myself to lever myself up.

Beautiful sun at the top; I actually went down to a t-shirt (actually I did that during the climb) and a sun hat. Funnily though I remembered the walk from here back to Camp Kaitoke (over 2 hours) from yesterday as being easy track... none of that at all! I guess I was in the first few hours of the tramp yesterday when doing this so I didn't find it hard whereas today it was just a little more difficult as I was definitely tired by now!
Me at Fan Stream

Anyway, it was a fantastic weekend and it was great to get outside and not be rained on. Amanda, after having me lead for the whole walk so the pace was one I would be comfortable with, can now ready herself for a proper fast fit tramp in a few weekends. I expect to be a little sore tomorrow morning!

I managed to get some photos yesterday but I guess I should have recharged my camera battery so none from today (when it was a much brighter day). And for those of you interested, there are more photos on flickr.

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

very cool, like the pics. Glad you had such a good time