Written by Debbie Barker; Participants Alan, Carl, Sharon, Sima, Kathy, Little Ted
This was my very first tramp with the club and I had the most wonderful, entertaining day. (Excuse my sequence of events, they may be a little muddled!)
The drive was a dream with Alan navigating the flash, new van, (setting unrealistic expectations for future journeys, I hear). The toilet at the car park sent shivers through me…and apparently that was above usual standard too (yikes). Little Ted showed off his perfect profile by posing on the walkway sign and then we were off. Once we got onto the track our smiles were firmly in place with the perfect combination of sunshine and a gently cooling breeze.
We walked past pale moss clusters that had a look of the seabed about them and the ground was pumicey and forgiving. I did flick quite a large amount of it into my boots which needing tipping out at water breaks. I particularly liked the walking near the river with the roar of water in the background, even when we couldn’t see it. A very manageable pace was set by my experienced fellow trampers, who checked in on me and made sure the going was not too tough. Soon the path followed the edge of the ravine and we looked down to see some lovely round cavities gouged into the flat rocks in the river.
The forest closed in around us and the damp, vegetation smell took us into that blissful place of native trees that somehow reminds you of childhood. The track was neither too long uphill or downhill but apparently doesn’t qualify to be called ‘undulating.’ I liked it, my legs didn’t get stuck in one motion or the other.
Little Ted was particularly relieved to have a morning tea break in what looked like a Hobbit’s camp. We gate-crashed low benches and a wee table that someone had placed by a ring of stones, ready for a fire. That set us up nicely for the rest of our walk and off we went. Kathy suddenly declared with outstretched arms “I believe I can fly” then promptly fell in a twisted heap on the ground…we’re not sure what was going on but it was noted that she was nibbling leaves all the way along the track…and she was giggling a lot…really, a lot.
The river reappeared and we walked closer to its banks. At some point we went over the swing bridge but my mind was too overwhelmed to remember which part of the walk that was on, we had all nibbled some leaves by this point, so draw your own conclusions (they said it was horopito, hmm). Another journey through the forest landed us at the Waihaha Hut and we stopped for lunch. It was a lovely clean place with a much nicer toilet in my opinion. Little Ted had a sleep on the bunk beds while we relaxed in the shade and Sharon scared the living daylights out of us recounting her exploits.
Our return trip flew by, we set a good pace and stopped to admire the odd flora and fauna. At one point the rest of the crew had me thinking that we were going to do a river crossing and I believed them. Cheeky lot. Sima misbehaved on the swing bridge, which wasn’t altogether surprising. We had the occasional water stop and did some yoga stretches in a clearing, usual practice I’m sure. We made it back to the van in 2 ½ hours and almost got blown over by gusts while we de-booted.
I had such a great day with fabulous people who really made me feel welcome. I recommend this as a perfect walk for newbies, surroundings were so interesting that the kms flew by.
I did learn a few important things too…
- Buy gaiters or wear long socks, carrying half the forest in your boots is inadvisable.
- Strange leaves make your tongue numb.
- Leave an extra bottle of water in the van, dehydration makes your numb tongue tingle.
- Always have Little Ted with you for photos, he looks good at any angle. (Thanks Carl).