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Heels 1978

Tararuas in May

page 7

Tararuas in May

One day in the May holidays, I managed to persuade Matt Johnston to do a trip into Penn Creek to deliver an axe handle, some turps, sandpaper, etc. The only problem was that he was doing a middle-crossing-cum-Southern-Main-Range, with Chris and Michael. The solution was - we'd drop off the Southern Main Range via Pakihore Ridge.

Anyway, we managed to make Powell in the late hours of a cool May night, in time to have a few brews of Milo and admire the lights of the Wairarapa before falling asleep.

By 8.30 the next morning, wrapped up in Swandris, we were steadily plodding up Mount Holdsworth, and catching glimpses of the Main Range. Having conquered the summit for the umpteenth time we chundered off down to mid-Waiohine.

There I re-located an old tyre, tucker, and car pump stash of mine. So we had no hassles getting a fire going by using the car pump, for a quick and enjoyable caffeine booster.

Thinking we were going to have a long grunt onto Aokaparangi, we cut short our morning tea stop at one-and-a-half hours and started the grind.

The pog we had had for brekkie was losing its effect. We slowly wound down, finding that the energy potential we had felt four hours ago was gone. All that remained was the thought of the great gift to New Zealand by W.D. & H. O. Wills, and so we stopped for a fructose or nicotine booster, (depending on inclination) , which eventuated into lunch.

Five o'clock saw us on top of Aokaparangi watching mist disappear, re—appear, and finally settle. So we faced the reality of not making Mangahuka that day, and made for Aokaparangi bivvy, which was located without hassles. With the addition of a tent, (pitched in the middle of the biv's general draining system), it was made quite habitable. Perhaps the most memorable event of the evening was the somersault of the rice pudding; the bulk of it landed in a freshly cleaned billy three feet away.

The next day was overcast and as we re-approached Aokaparangi it began to drizzle, so we ripped out our parkas and wandered on, a flourescent insult to the environment leading the way. Ten minutes later we were putting on extra jerseys, overtrou and mitts, and seriously thinking of our well-being with wind increasing and the drizzle turning to hail. We put a bit more haste into our plod but didn't make the 'Big M' until two hours later where some of us got into pit and the rest of us hung round wondering if it was worthwhile doing so. After a consultation with the National Programme's weather office we decided to drop down to Neill Forks (so long work party). Another party arrived just then looking wet and miserable, and accompanied us to Neill Forks. The hut was its usual inviting self, and it was nice to sit in front of a blazing fire after the crud on the tops. Next day our foursome finally split up, and Chris and Michael went to Kaitoke leaving Matt and myself to face a humble breakfast of porridge, eggs, bacon, pork chops and pancakes.

So after a few healthy burps Matt and I pointed ourselves in the direction of Hector Forks and after three-quarters of an hour set about the frustrating business of the gorge sidle track. The predicted change in the weather eventuated, and we were given page 8a rare treat of torrential rain, stinging nettle, and unlimited supplies of cutty grass and supplejack. Subsequently, old Totara Flats hut was the most welcome and friendly brothel I've ever stopped at 1, *. So we had badly needed refreshments and headed for Holdsworth Lodge to give the alarm about a lost member of another party on Cone Ridge.

Friday night saw Matt, myself, the axe handle, turps and sandpaper etc, whooping it up at the Masterton Cop Shop 2, gulping endless cuppas, chocka with milk and sugar; and lamenting the absence of policewomen.

- Bill Taylor.

decorative feature

1 1) Totara Flats is the only brothel I've ever stopped in

2 2) Matt Johnston has alot of patience with some cops - Bill Taylor has very little.

* *typist debates this point.