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Heels 1974

Five Go Piking

page 4

Five Go Piking

Enthusiasm was noticeably low at Kaitoke. Four slackers locked themselves inside their car and refused to move at all. Later at Smith's Creek Shelter, several voices ( it could have been the same four) supported a motion to stop for the night. So we did - all but Trev, last seen heading towards Tutuwai in a cloud of dust. Back at the Shelter, we were wafted gently to sleep on the strains of an old Scottish lullaby.

Saturday morning, perfect weather; still time to do a Neill Winchcombe. A marked reluctance to move from pit rather decreased our chances though. But the energetic arrival of Trev had a dramatic effect, and all nine of us were soon ambling up the Tauherenikau. The weather was unreal, the river seemed transfigured, and we lingered.... by the time we reached Cone Flats there seemed little chance of the whole party completing the trip. Deeming it sacrilege to rush on such a day, five of us decided to stay in the Tauherenikau. The other four(three of whom were to do the Neill-Winchcombe and back over the Southern) marched off up Block XIX. We didn't envy them.

We made a beaut little camp ten minutes below Cone on a grassy island in the riverbed. John, Jane, and Marilyn went for a walk up to Bull Mound, where the view was superb, and returned via the Omega Track. Homecoming at dusk, they found that Rod and Ken had created a gourmet stew in their absence. The groundmist was rising as we sat around the last of the fire.

Sunday was again perfect - but we slept in until 10 a.m. with no trouble. By early afternoon Ken had left for Kaitoke, and the rest of us followed slowly down the golden flats, wading through the ragwort and the sunshine, playing in the autumn drifts of fluffy daisy seeds. Much later we meandered down the Puffer to rejoin Ken, pacing the carpark impatiently, and the three who had done the full trip. We still didn't envy them.

The five were: Jane Forsyth, Marilyn Bramley, Ken Taylor, Rod Gilman, John Black.

The three were: Trev Read, Stephen Williams, Ash Morton.

and the ninth was Philip J. Tree.