This article was first published in the Tararua Tramper in Jan/Feb 2000
Mt Kaukau 2000
Saturday 1 January 2000
As a tramper of rather limited ability, it occurred to me there could be a need for a short day trip that would somehow celebrate the millennium. It would have to be a short trip to fit between the many social engagements people have at this time of year.
Where I live I look straight across to Mt Kaukau. Easy to climb and, most importantly, ideally placed for a view of the (hopefully) rising sun over the Rimutaka Range as it heralds the beginning of the new millennium. Such a trip I visualised, would have the enormous advantage that, if at the appointed hour you woke up to a raging north-wester and rain, you could just switch off the alarm clock and go back to sleep! However, this idea was condemned by my wife Joyce, who adopted a "do or bust" attitude. So, Mt Kaukau was the answer.
I was encouraged by Mary Mason, who promised to regale us after the climb with all sorts of goodies at her house. I suggested beds might be more appropriate than buns. Unbeknown to me a lot of other club members had the Mt Kaukau idea too. [In fact, Greig was the inspiration many of us needed - Ed]
So at about 4.40am our group, having parked their cars at the end of Clark Street, Khandallah, set off up the track on the south eastern side of the hill. The going was good, even by torchlight. I soon got used to keeping to the left to make way for faster traffic (which sometimes included young children). Soon we were out of the bush and pale dawn light made things easier. By 5.30 we were on top - along with about 250 others! Among them were more TTCs.
I dumped my pack, grabbed my camera and mini tripod and guessed time exposures would be required, as I wanted to catch the last of the city lights. Luckily I managed to find a space on the rail around the lookout. Next were group shots of the many club members who had gathered together.
The time for the much hoped for sunrise had come and gone. However, all was not lost. The sun had not appeared, but about half an hour later some sunlight had sneaked under the cloud and lit up a sizeable area of the harbour, giving off a kind of silver reflection on the water. Over to the tele-zoom for this shot. In one corner two people sat facing the scene. adding a human touch. I spoke to them afterwards and arranged to send them a print.
Perhaps the most pleasant and satisfying thing up there was the people. There was a feeling of "togetherness". No noisy shouting, but lots of hugging. Certainly no "boozing", but the odd sip of wine in raised glasses. There was a feeling of peace and satisfaction as people mingled freely and admired the lovely scene. At last we had to give up on the sun and quite quickly the people disappeared. We followed. Some took off to John and Margaret Foden's house for eats and others went to Mary Mason's for tea/coffee and some delectable eats. All were agreed it had been a very worthwhile get-together.
Among club members seen were: Andy Andersen, John Ahradsen, Pat Crosby, Graeme and Judith Claridge, John and Margaret Foden, Janet Keilar, Kath Kerr, Janet King, Mary Mason, Brenda Neill, Michelle Paterson, Greig and Joyce Royle, and Kath Satory. Scribe: Greig Royle.