Saturday, July 10, 2010

Another tramping adventure

Sorry for the gap between postings. Life has been busier than ever for me but lots of fun.

Last weekend I went off on another tramping adventure. The tramping part of the weekend was easy. In fact the track we walked was one I have been on previously - about 30 years ago. Back in those days it was called the Five Mile Track (no reflection on how long it actually was) and was pretty rough and ready. The track is in the Rimutaka Forest Park and goes in to the Orongorongo River. As teenagers we would carry in as much beer as we could and stay overnight in a hut by the river, drinking and sitting around the fire.
These days it's more civilised - the track is very well-formed with many bridges over the various creeks along the way. And the beer has been replaced with red wine. The area is close to Wellington and therefore very popular with day-walkers, families as well as more serious trampers who carry on to do more serious walks.

So, last weekend we walked in on Sunday which was a gorgeous sunny day - still cold though. We found the hut fairly easily - just a small matter of crossing the river three times to get to it. With wet boots and the temperature dropping our priority was to gather firewood (there was none left in the hut from previous occupants - not helpful), get a fire going and get some dinner underway. The hut has an open fire which is not particularly efficient so we had a pretty cold first night in the hut. Warm when standing right in front of the fire and freezing when you took a step or two back.

Here's a picture of the hut - pretty basic huh? And, you know, I swear that it's the same hut we used to stay in 30 years ago. The hut used to be privately owned but it's now one of the huts owned by the Department of Conservation and can be booked online ($25 / night - what a bargain!)

Monday was another fine day and, seeking cellphone coverage, we decided to go for a wander up the hill behind the hut. Of course there was no track to follow so it was matter of finding the best path through the trees, scrub, rocks, etc. It was a great walk and I think we climbed about 400 metres before we could get service on our cellphones. I checked the weather forecast which showed that bad weather was on its way. The view from up on the hill was fantastic - we could see right across Wellington harbour and the south coast. The view was well worth the walk.

On returning to the hut another firewood expedition was required. With a good stock of firewood loaded into the hut we settled down to a warm evening sipping red wine in front of the fire. Overnight the rain started and it had settled into steady rain and bitterly cold south-easterly winds by morning. With the risk of the river rising it was time to pack up, clean the hut and head for home. Our walk out started with several river crossings so the rest of the walk was completed with sodden boots and socks.

Once we made it back to the carpark it was time for me to head to the city and get to work. One of the great things about living in Wellington is that walks like these are so close to home and are very achievable for all ages, etc of people. As long as the river isn't up we'll be back in to the same hut next weekend for another night - and hopefully the firewood we stashed will still be there!

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