A cosy Cone Hut stay
Over the weekend 30-31 July a happy group of 6 trampers travelled into the depths of the Forest to experience a night at a REAL Hut. For one of our number, Steve, it was his first experience of Tramping New Zealand style, he being from the Home Country.
We travelled through a very calm Wairarapa and saw the hot air balloons just north of Greytown. It was so calm that mist rising from hedges along the road was failing to rise and made the view somewhat surreal. The first trial of our journey, the swing bridge over the Waiohine, was crossed in expert style and the attack on the climb up onto the ridge began. Now everyone knows that clothing is stripped off in direct ratio to the steepness of terrain. Several stops were made in a short period of time to divest articles of gear.
It was found out later on, about 2 hours later to be exact, that at one of these stops a member’s digital camera had become detached from his waist belt. A short discussion was held and an insurance claim decided on. At about this time we met a tramper heading out the way we had just been. He promised to keep a look out for the camera. It turned out that he was an ex-TTC member, from the 1952 to 1970 era, and a founding member of the South Wairarapa Tramping Club. He had already that day gone from Walls Whare to Mt Reeves, Tutuwai, and Cone Hut and was on the way out. He told us he was on “just another of my day trips”.
At Cone Hut we came upon 11 members of a Tongue and Meats party going into Tutuwai Hut. We gave them a suitable farewell and they in turn promised to give us all their over 40’s.
We had settled down when a group of 3 hunters arrived. They inspected the hut, and they also checked out Karen’s sleeping bag. Now unknown to them Karen was inside the sleeping bag, and they went to poke it. Karen woke up, startled, and the hunters beat a hasty retreat.
During a short trip later in the afternoon along the river terraces to the Bull Mound track we inspected the pig rootings, much to Steve’s interest, and the return filled up the rest of the daylight. Dinner was prepared in front of a coal fire ( we packed the coal in with us) and we had about 2 hours of singing with the Turner Girls leading us in songs from the 30’s to the 80’s. In an older style totara slab hut it was a magic night.
Heavy overnight rain had the Tauheranikau River in flood and we decided that our plan to return to Walls Whare via the Totara Flats track, crossing Clem Creek, was not a flash idea. So we returned the way we came. Another tramper passed us on the ridge top. He had spent the night in a tent near Tutawai having walked in from Kaitoki the day before. The flooded river meant that he could not get back that way and be picked up by his wife. We met up with him again on the dirt road and gave him a lift to Greytown. In return he asked if we had lost anything, yes we had, and he produced the missing camera from his pack. He had stopped for a rest and had moved off track and placed his pack on the ground and saw the camera further down the bank. It appears that it had fallen and rolled off track down the bank not too far from the swing bridge.
This trip emphasised to me that the community of trampers is a fun-loving, sharing and as trustworthy a group that one could wish to be with.