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Heels 1968

The Great Tauherenikau Gorge Fiasco

The Great Tauherenikau Gorge Fiasco

(or "If at first you don't succeed then, try, try, try again")

1st Attempt:

"Come on a mid finals trip - Walls Whare - Tauherenikau Gorge" read the notice. So on Friday night four of us set off from Kaitoke to AD. This strange route was because a large quantity of rain had fallen in the Tararua's and the gorge trip had been abandoned and replaced by a "Southern or something". On the way in one discovery was made - when you are carrying a very warm carbide lamp in your hand and there is hail hitting the back of it, you get a cramp of the most nasty of nasty species. Anyway AD was reached and next morning we set off up block sixteen. About 5 mins up the track Alan found that one of his tendons was playing up and so after some democracy involving twigs, I went back to AD with Alan while Bill and Nev carried on to Alpha. Here they soon hit pits and finally arose to make a stew. It was now page 10that they discovered that salt tablets do not contain much salt - these being the only source of salt they had. On Sunday they took one look at the norwester screaming across the tops and beat a retreat down the Marchant to Kaitoke. Alan and I, after a disturbed night - we were woken successively by (a) alarm clock, so that people could listen to Welsh test match, (b) shooters alarm clock, (c) shooters alarm clock, (d) earthquake, (e) other people preparing breakfast - eventually made Kaitoke by the usual route. So ended the first attempt.

2nd Attempt:

Two weeks later four trampers set off from Kaitoke to arrive at an Empty Tauherenikau hut intending to go down the Gorge the next day. Sunday dawned a glorious day and so in high spirits we set off for the river to find it at least a foot higher than normal, murky and extremely cold. Hence we retreated by a little used but interesting route - up the bed of Smith's creek.

3rd Attempt:

At five o'clock the next Saturday two sleepy trampers decided they would not attempt the Tauherenikau gorge that day as it was pouring. However when we both woke again 3 hours later the rain had stopped and a phone call reversed our previous decision and so Bill and I set off for Tauherenikau in most unpromising conditions - there was now just drizzly rain. However we found the river in perfect condition and soon we were floating down the pools of the river. This gorge is easy to negotiate with not many places where it is absolutely essential to swim. Eventually after four most enjoyable hours, spoilt only by lack of puttees, the end was reached.

- K.G.J.

Those who failed once: Alan Browne (1st time) Stephanie Fraser (2nd time)

He who failed twice: Nev Lupton

Those who failed twice and succeeded the third time: Bill Radford and Keith Jones.

Happiness is a ride home from Otaki Forks.