The 'Heels' venture this year was more successful than last, however this is not indicative of a more active, enthusiastic or spirited year for the club.
The fresher's trip and the A.I.C. had half the usual number of attenders, and the May Meet though geographically accessible at Tongariro National Park had a turn-out of three from Victoria. The Bushcraft Weekend was cancelled due to lack of interest; rockcraft appears to have been indefinitely postponed. Nelson Lakes was the proposed destination of an August trip which met with technichal maladministration and never left; the Gourmet Trip suffered a similar fate. The moonlight Southern Crossing had the interest but not the weather, and a few attempts to run other miscellaneous trips could not find any takers. A busload of trampers of varying degrees of fitness enjoyed themselves in North-West Nelson at Easter, and with this the tale of trips becomes exhausted. While there are a couple of hopefuls planned before the end of the year, the most optimistic tramper must view it as a dismal track record.
The club has a new responsibility this year, namely Penn Creek Hut in the Tararuas. Solid weekend vigils by Bill T. in an attempt to disprove the morbid predictions in last year's editorial have only received sporadic help from other members, though one work-party of sizeable proportions was held earlier in the year. Whether 'club spirit' has developed from the hut is highly dubious - even the predicted, much-maligned annual piss-up has not eventuated. However, this was hardly the intention of obtaining a hut. VUWTC en masse or as individuals use Tararuas huts, many maintained by other clubs, and it seems reasonable for us to make an effort in this direction, providing club strength renders it feasible.
It can be accepted that any university club must have fluctuating membership and activity, but whether the 1978 chapter of accidents was inevitable is another matter. Trampers continue to tramp, and despite indolence, modesty and procrastination, can be induced to write; hence Heels, but the activity reflected in the articles is all too often the result of trips alongside rather than within the club. Obviously Christmas and longer trips are preferably private, but one of the definite lacks is of experienced people willing to lead trips, thereby passing on knowledge and experience, introducing new and interesting areas to those of more limited fitness and skill. No doubt, as one of the oldest tramping clubs in existence, we will return to our former glory, and a magazine will subsequently be easier to produce.
Thanks to those who contributed gladly, those who wrote something to keep the peace, Janet, Julian, Lucy and Rob, who helped with the more mundane jobs, Bill for the cover, and Jock who has done an unprecedented and superlative job with the advertisements.