Who would have thought that a mountain range named after a brand of spreadable butter could be so pointy?
Dates: 1st – 3rd December, 2006
Location: Tararua Forest Park
Huts visited: Holdsworth Lodge (1 night), Atiwhakatu Hut (0 nights), Jumbo Hut (1 night), Powell Hut (0 nights), Mountain House Shelter (0 nights).
This was a WTMC easy-medium-rated trip, and probably the most interesting I’ve done so far with the club.
We started at Holdsworth Lodge, which is a bit like a hut except it has things like electricity, flush toilets, and noisy children. After seeing off the other two club groups (who were walking up the track to Atiwhakatu Hut on Friday night), we basically sat around playing cards and went to bed.
Saturday morning included a nice stroll along the river over lots of swing bridges, and around the occasional landslip or fallen tree.
Getting to Atiwhakatu Hut didn’t take that long, and we ended up walking further before lunch. After the Atiwhakata hut, we had a steep slog up the hill to Jumbo Hut, which was probably the most Medium part of the Easy-Medium trip.
Jumbo Hut is quite a large hut, which was fortunate because through some act of planning, it turned out that the Medium-rated club trip was also spending the night there. They didn’t turn up until a few hours later, though, which meant we got to claim all the nice bunks. A few of us went for a wander up the spur to Jumbo Peak a bit later in the afternoon, and we met the Medium-rated trip coming down.
Saturday night was a full hut, and wasn’t helped by two random guys who turned up about 10pm. This would have been fine if they’d simply bedded down on the floor, but instead they messed around for an hour trying to cook (while everyone else was trying to sleep), then forced both of themselves onto the single remaining mattress, pushing other people out of the way. They left very early in the morning before anyone had a decent chance to yell at them.
Sunday was a very relaxed walk along the tops, in near-perfect weather. (Unusual for the Tararuas.) There was quite a lot of up and down, but we weren’t in a rush, since the lunetic/fit group wasn’t due back at the bus until 5PM anyway. This meant that we stayed for quite a while at the top of Mt Holdsworth, with some very nice views, and even longer at Powell Hut, part way down the hill.
Powell Hut is huge, almost like a typical Great Walk hut except without the flush toilets. I’m not sure I’d want to go on a trip just to go there.
We had a longer than expected wait at the carpark for the fit trip. It turned out they’d spent about 28 hours of walking over 2 days to get to a hut that nobody had visited for seven months! I was told afterwards that they’d actually gone futher than what was in the trip plan, apparently due to a mis-reading of the title of the trip, so instead of the regular lunacy of the fit trips, this one was even crazier.