Monday, March 11, 2013

A trip to Arete and back

A great weather forecast at the beginning of February led to an overnight trip into the Tararua range with the goal to walk in to Arete Bivvy. The track starts out the back of Levin and we headed off up the Gable End track towards the tops. After walking for an hour or so I was feeling unwell and lacking in energy so we decided to carry on to Te Matawai hut and figure out what to do from there.

Gorgeous day for a walk

On the way to Te Matawai Hut

Te Matawai Hut
After a less than enjoyable trudge up to the hut the decision was made to have dinner and stay at the hut for the night. In the morning we would leave our packs at the hut, head up and over to Arete Bivvy before walking back out to the car via the South Ohau Stream. There were a few other people in the hut but after dinner it was time for an early night and a good sleep. The morning dawned fine with a little bit of cloud on the tops. While getting pack up ready to go I somehow managed to fall from the bunk steps onto the wooden floor. Luckily I have enough padding on my butt so the fall didn't cause any damage. We got ourselves packed up, sorted out gear and food for the walk up to Arete and headed off. While I felt a little better than the day before I was still not 100% so was walking slower than my normal pace. It was great to get up onto the tops and it didn't take us long to get to the high point of Arete and then descend down the other side to the bivvy.
On the way to Arete Bivvy

View along the tops

Arete Bivvy - cute little hut

Looking back down to Arete Bivvy - Wairarapa in the distance
The bivvy itself is a cute 2 person hut nestled in grass and tussock with one of those amazing loos with a view. After a rest break and a water topup it was time to get ourselves back to the hut to pick up our packs and start the descent down to the South Ohau Hut then down the stream to the car. I enjoyed the descent a lot more than I had enjoyed the climb so we made pretty good time going down. The descent down to South Ohau Hut is pretty steep and rugged. The hut itself is beside the stream and looks like a great place to stay. We decided we'd have to come back another time and spend a night there.

South Ohau Hut

View from in front of South Ohau Hut
We had a snack and a brief rest stop before entering the stream for the walk back to the car. Unfortunately, we had only walked for about 10 minutes when I slipped on a rock and landed heavily on my butt. It was one of those awful moments when you realise you've done some real damage and that the rest of the day would be a little different than planned. After dumping my pack off my back and gingerly getting to my feet (I was dry I might add - somehow I landed right on the flat, dry rock that I had slipped off) I knew that I had managed to damage something pretty badly but that I could still walk. After swapping some gear out of my pack to lighten the load we set off down the river towards the car. Pretty much every step was agony with any climbing over rocks intensifying the pain. I did wonder if I had lost enamel from my teeth from all the teeth-gritting that was going on. It was definitely no fun and there was little to no conversation going on during the walk out. It took about 4 hours to walk out to the carpark where we then had the drive home to cope with.

South Ohau Stream

South Ohau Stream

South Ohau Stream
A trip to the doctor the following morning and an xray a couple of days later revealed a displaced fracture of the sacrum. On looking that up on Dr Google it looked like a scary proposition but it seems that it all depends where the break is as to how serious the fracture is. Mine is right at the bottom of the sacrum - just above the coccyx - which is, apparently, far less serious than breaks higher up. It still means a healing time of 6-12 weeks, up to 3 months off my bike and all other physical pursuits are on hold for now. This makes for a very bored Carolyn with the prospect of not being able to get out and about for a while.

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