Tuesday, 14 October 2008

A Weekend Update...

I seem to be recovering reasonably well from my tramp at the weekend even if ankles and hip bone a little tender :) We had a beautiful weekend weather wise and as it's the school holiers here there was a risk that the hut we were walking to would be fairly busy. Dave had been thinking about buying a 2 person tent so it was decided that this was a good opportunity to do that; he'd carry it up and if the weather was nice then we'd camp a little bit past the hut. We started walking about 11:15am on Saturday morning from Otaki Forks in beautiful weather. For about the first hour and a half or so we're on gorgeous track in the sun and I'm thinking, yeah, this could be good.

About 90 mins in there's a bit old slip that we have to climb around which I found fine. Then ground starts getting a little bit more difficult - lots of mud to avoid, tree roots, climbing up over big tree roots (most of the time this is fine as nature provided some wonderful foot holds). Then there's a climb (about 400 - 500 metres I think) up to the plateau where lunch was had. The pace isn't exactly fast but little did we know that I was going to get slower after lunch! I guess I was getting tired (carrying the pack.. I'm sure that's it :) ) but it was the constant criss cross (after descending from plateau) across tributary that took it from me. Initially yes I'm trying not to get feet wet but then that becomes less of an issue as i know boots are going to be flooded later when crossing the river to the hut, but what I find hard is just balance and trusting my feet between/on rocks in the river. At one point I'm so busy watching the ground (this is back on the dry ground - read muddy ground) that I walked head first in to a rather large and thick tree branch. That hurt :( Anyway after close to 6 hrs we get to the decision point to take detour up around river to hut or to walk down stream (in stream) to the river and then cross that twice to the hut. The former approach was going to add about 45 - 60 mins to the route. The latter is about 15 min walk to river and about 10-15 mins from there so while I was somewhat apprehensive of wading thigh/hip deep across a rather large river I decided to try it. Unfortunately we got down there and it was too deep/fast so with only two of us to form a chain we decided it prob was a little dangerous. So turned around and back up the detour route.

I was very relieved to see hut, which, it turned out, we had to ourselves! It was great. We had leisurely, relatively gourmet tramping dinner of pasta, pesto and asparagus before crashing for the night. For the first time in ages I wasn't freezing in my sleeping bag or in the hut.. it was great!
Preparing dinner
Walk out on Sunday was much more enjoyable. Whether this was because I knew what to expect or because I was in front setting the pace I don't know but much better. A portion of the track is totally blocked by some bad tree fall and whereas on the Saturday we somehow or other clambered over (a little on the dangerous side as never really knew if we had solid ground beneath us), on Sunday we just went in the river/stream. Trees are of course large so there was some interesting swinging under tree trunks even there to avoid the fall. But the difference on Sunday was that it was just more fun and much safer avoiding the tree fall in the river than on land! I did finally manage to grab a few photos once we got out of the bush and back in the sun on Sunday afternoon... so you'll see nice photos of this tramp only rather than "aoife finds difficult" track:)
The Swing Bridge
A thoroughly exhausted Aoife got back to Wellington about 5:45 on Sunday where I did not allow myself to get in to shower (which trust me, was greatly required) until pack emptied and washing on. I had had good intentions of also cleaning/waxing boots as well but that got postponed.

All in all, a challenging but enjoyable tramp with some fantastic New Zealand Spring weather :)

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