The drive down to Karangahake was quick and pleasant but at the Franklin Rd carpark we were met by 80
school children getting ready to tramp! Fortunately we quickly established that they weren't staying
at our hut!!|
The five of us walked along the historic tramway at an easy pace with each person
taking turns to lead - great training! Along the way we identified Rimu, grass orchids and a spectacular
blossom of clematis and enjoyed the sound of bell birds, waterfalls and warblers. Our lunch stop was
beside the river at the fifth swing bridge - the clouds looked like there might be an unexpected shower
of rain but then the sun came out again. While we sat beside the river we talked about what we expect
at the hut - a hot cup of tea, putting our feet up after carrying our packs, rolling out our sleeping
bags, sitting on the veranda in the afternoon sun …. then Murray compared our hut expectation to the
hope that we have in Christ’s return as described in Philippians1:6.
As we continued along the
track we soon met up with Alisdair our friendly and helpful Hut Warden. He joined us to complete our
walk on to the hut where we quickly set up our bunk room and enjoyed our hot soup. As we talked through
the equipment list that had been filled in by everyone we discussed what we had actually carried in and
why we had chosen to bring each item. We then went outside and discovered how to pitch a tent as well
as having some fun with the emergency fly and bothy bag! We cleared the tent site just in time as more
campers arrived and pitched their own tents for the night. We were happy to return to the hut for a rest
and before dinner some of us explored the mill site where the huge vertical saw has been rebuilt.
Christine cooked up a tasty sausage dinner and we particularly enjoyed the custard she made for dessert
(following Val’s guidelines from our club Food Night a few weeks ago!). Alistair joined us after dinner
and described some aspects of hut etiquette as well as sharing his vast experience of tramping around
NZ. Soon it was dark enough to look for glow worms - we all ventured out to the stream behind the hut
and were impressed by these tiny insects shining in the night. On our return we began the great "Uno"
(card game) challenge - Tom taught us well but seemed able to make the best use of his personalised pack
of cards which included ‘pick up 25’ and ‘swap your hand’!! As we realised it was the start of daylight
saving we took advantage of an early night and all of us enjoyed a good night’s sleep.
was frosty outside in the morning but Tom’s porridge was hot and nourishing. We packed and left the hut
by 9.15 enjoying blue sky and warm sunshine as we walked down the tramway. It was good to see the track
being well used as we passed people tramping in both directions and we arrived at the carpark by 12.45pm.
As usual the Auckland motorway was congested but we arrived back to Bracken Ave safely having enjoyed
each other’s company and completed a very successful overnight training tramp.