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Heels 1973


page 31


The weather looked far from hopeful and had anyone suggested that a weekend spent in Wellington might be a good idea I'd have been ready to agree. However, no-one made that suggestion so the first rule is - if you want to be on a trip that is sure to leave pick your trip leader carefully. Friday night had its dramatic moments. Ever wondered what happens when 2 cars meet on a narrow part of the road leading into Walls Whare? Well the answer is the one on the outside goes over the bank. Our taxi did just that so we all got out and lifted and pushed and it was soon as it should be with all four wheels back on the road. We expected an astronomical taxi fare after that but it wasn't. Walls Whare was fairly empty when we arrived so we made ourselves comfortable. Then another party arrived and it became more crowded and then finally there was a knock on the door and a voice asked if there was room in the hut for another 20. There wasn't.

A short while later when everyone was just about asleep, there was loud knocking on the door and a voice crying that a girl had got washed away crossing the river and was now trapped on a log in the middle. Everyone was immediately wide awake and people rushed off including one member of our trip who effected a rescue. The night passed without further incident and in the morning our party of four acquired a fifth member, Nicky, who was the only one of the three who had attempted the river crossing the night before and whose pack was still intact and dry. We set off at a respectable hour on a beautifully fine day. "At last" I thought "my first trip into the Tararuas that isn't going to be wet. Progress was leisurely and uneventual and a pleasant scramble up clem creek and along the ridge was rewarded at about 3 o'clock by the view from the top of Mt. Reeves.

It became apparent about this time that water was going to be in rather short supply. The previous two or three weeks had been fine and little tarns along the top of the ridge had dried up. Drinks of various sorts became the chief topic of conversation. After Mt. Reeves it was along the track to Mt. Tauherenikau - no track this time although the going was open and easy. Water for breakfast and tea became important at this stage as it was apparent that the supply of water in water bottles wasn't going to be sufficient for two meals. Finally we found two muddy little tarns and decided that it would be as good a place as any to camp. We shared our campsite with 2 huge spiders which were killed - not by me and I spent some of the night wondering if they were the only two around.

A hasty breakfast the next morning and off again. A short while later we were on Mt. Tauherenikau and then came the tricky part. We wanted to go down the main ridge from Mt. Tauherenikau and come out at Smiths Creek shelter. A long morning and half the afternoon was spent with maps and compasses and the more energetic Erica and Kevin climbing trees. Navigation tended to become a matter of deciding where you thought the spur went and trying hard to talk someone else around to your view point.

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With the exception of one miscalculation, navigation was accurate until mid afternoon when it became apparent that progress was going to be a lot faster if we were to be at Kaitoke by dark or shortly after. The inevitable then happened and we strayed off the spur, finally reaching the river at about five o'clock about 200 yards from where we wanted to come out. Also at this time water became plentiful once more. Not only did we have a whole river full of it, it was coming from the sky as well. I still hadn't spent a completely fine weekend in the Tararuas. From then on it became a race between us and darkness to see if we could reach the road while it was still light. We lost and hitching in the dark, cold, wind and rain was an idea that grew less attractive by the minute so a phone call from the house at the end of the road got us a taxi to the station and so the trip ended in comfort.


Trip was: Erica Law

Kevin Helm

Phillip Tree


Marilyn Bramley