Monday, 23 March 2009

Happy Campers

So last month a friend suggested that a few of us go on a "cruisey" tramp in to Totara Flats, camp for the night and then tramp out the next day. The idea was that while there we could fish, take some photos, chill, read, sleep or do whatever we fancied. In the end six of us were free to go last weekend so the date was set.

I have to be honest and say that come Saturday morning I was not feeling enthusiastic about this. The forecast showed rain coming in in the afternoon and hanging around overnight and the next day. I wasn't quite sure how much fishing, photography and general chilling was going to take place in the rain. But we were packed (Dave v kindly carrying the 2 person tent) and ready to go so off we went. I should probably mention that I was feeling pretty tired so I had already decided that my "relaxing" and "chilling" on arrival at the Flats was going to involve me in a sleeping bag inside a tent :)

While the tramp was definitely not difficult by Kiwi standards, it wasn't quite what I had in mind when I signed up to a "cruisey" walk in. But having said that I actually rather enjoyed it. Admittedly it took me a little while to get in to it as it wasn't what I was mentally prepared for but it was a fun group and some of the bush that was walked through is lovely. We were in to our third hour and had just descended down to walk along the side of the river, when we decided to take another wee rest... always nice to get weekend packs off the back. We had been there about 10 minutes when Amanda (organizer) mentioned that actually we were camping just around the bend in the river! Lots of packs hoisted on packs pretty fast and within another 20 mins we were at lovely little camping spot! It was right by the river (but up a ledge so no fear of flooding at this time of the year) and it was sheltered from the wind on three sides by bush and tree and just to finish it off there was enough room for our 3 two person tents! Just perfect.

Up went the tents (well the rain was still forecast so obviously it makes sense to get the tents up while it's still dry) and general sorting of thermarests, sleeping bags etc.

Happy Campers

We had dinner relatively early as it was pointed out that it would make sense to cook before the rain arrived. Around 6:30 or so I'd say we started to get a few drops of rain appear and by 7 we were all in our tents. It's been a while since I've been in a tent while it's raining outside... it's wonderful just lying there, talking quietly and listening to the rain on the tent! I didn't move for the rest of the evening, nor did anybody else actually other than James and Spencer who set some eel bait and then headed down about 8:30 to see if they'd caught anything. They had. I just wasn't getting out of my warm, dry sleeping bag to look at it. However when I got up in the morning there was a 2 foot eel (dead) hanging off a tree outside one of the tents.

Even though it never really cleared up on Sunday we never really got rained too heavily on as we were so protected in the bush I guess. It was a v enjoyable walk out with more conversation than I would have thought possible about eels! And I'll finish by saying that apparently NZ eels actually spawn somewhere near Tonga and before dying (well not the poor fella on Sat night) they head back there to spawn. Pretty impressive, eh?


Kathleen said...

so where's the picture of the eel!!! looks like a great trip, camping during the rain is always rough but once you are comfy it is the best.

eefa said...

I took a photo of it hanging off the tree but deleted it as too much light behind it so glary and it wasn't a great photo. Sorry :)

jd said...

Sounds like you had a really nice trip!

Just reading your description of lying in the tent while it rained outside made me feel relaxed. Anytime I'm stressed I'm gonna re-read it just so I can feel better:)

eefa said...

Yeah just lying there listening to the rain was just wonderful... admittedly it might not have been so wonderful if it I had to get up and head out in it, but hey I didn't :) V glad that you found it relaxing to read.