The Spike: or, Victoria University College Review, June 1924
"Afoot and lighthearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose."
One sometimes wonders, not that so many go tramping, but that so few do. The joys of the road are many, and surely are well known by now. There is hardly a poet or an essayist who has not expounded" the cheerful voice of the public road," or grown lyrical over the surpassing beauty that surrounds the hill-track or the trail through the bush.
The tramper, knowing their words are true, goes out free and light hearted, the world before him. But what of those who feel the call, yet fail to answer? Is this restraint mere lassitude? Or is it because they doubt their ability? The one is weak, the other foolish; trampers are no supermen, nor their tramps endurance trials. Long tramps are under-taken, but they are arranged in easy stages. Thus, the most noteworthy tramps since last "Spike" appeared were those that filled the long week-ends of Dominion, Labour, and Anzac Days.
On the Saturday before Dominion Day a large party set out on the "Wairongomai Trip," past the Wainui Reservoir and Semple's tunnel. As on the previous occasion, this route proved to have some peculiar charm that makes it stand out from all other tramps. It may be the exceptional variety of beautiful scenery, or the abundance of wild life, or the excellent camping rounds on the river flats—or the combination of these and other things: certainly, the Wairongomai trip is always recalled with special pleasure.
This route has been followed for the last time, unfortunately; the new waterworks reserve is closed to trampers. With some changes in the earlier part of the trip, though, the Wairongomai itself is still available.
The most ambitious of all Club tramps till that time was probably the Labour Day weekend. Some fifty miles of walking were involved, over every type of country—road, bush track, trackless bush, and riverbed. Included in the route were two crossings of the Rimutakas; the first, by Matthews Saddle, was interesting enough, but hot to be compared with the second traverse, made by map and compass near Bau Bau trig. Ours was probably the first party since the early surveyors to cross those bushy ridges; certainly, no women had gone through there before.
After the Exams., a new Tararua route was tried, but it is not recommended for people in a hurry. The party went to Alpha from Kaitoke, via Marchant; next day descended a long ridge to Renata, and then turned northwards to the Waiotauru stream. About eight miles was the reward of a twelvehour day. The journey next day down the Waiotauru to Otaki Forks was better rewarded; there was splendid river scenery and abundance of wild life.
Later in the Long Vacation a larger party made the complete journey over the Tararua track; fortunate in having fine weather, they had a most successful trip.
The conquest of Mount McKerrow was a very satisfactory beginning for the weekend tramps of 1924. This bush-covered hill is readily accessible from the Wainui Valley, yet it was only after the seventh attempt, or projected attempt, that the summit was achieved—bad weather had vetoed the previous trials.
When Anzac Day and the College Council conspired to lengthen the Easter Vacation, a number of trampers took advantage of this to go around Palliser Bay, in order to see the Putangirua Pinnacles. Although the country covered was not in general difficult, the distance was considerable, and time was too short for all to reach the Pinnacles. Those who did, however, were well rewarded. As only one tributary of the Putangirua stream was examined, and there are a number of others with similar rock pillars, the whole valley will some day, we hope, be explored by the Club.
During the Long Vacation a party of Club members spent an exceptionally enjoyable (and cheap) holiday in the Tongariro-Taupo district. Ruapehu was climbed, and all the lesser mountains. There was a lengthy stay at Tokaanu; a visit to Wairakei; a beautiful bush track past Roto Aira; everything, in fact, to make a holiday memorable.
Since last September there have been shorter tramps, too many to enumerate; but attendance on Sunday tramps, considering the membership page 69 of the Club, has been low. This is a pity, for the longer of the week-end tramps become much easier if one has done some tramping before.
We hear that—
The French for "little pig" is "tomahawk."
There will be a Winter Tararua Trip at the end of the term—for those who are fit.
Several of this term's week-end trips would be Sunday tramps in summer time.
To the chemist the reaction between Fe and Kid gives Venison.
The wind (?) at Burling's Creek levelled a tent with the ground. And that porridge and sausages took wings.
A certain fowlhouse at the mouth of the Orongorongo is a draughty place on a cold night.
On the authority of an expert biologist, tramping is fine training for the more strenuous sports, such as jazzing.
A number of "members" have not yet been out on a tramp. And that the easier tramps often occur in the first half of the term's programme.
A recent wedding was extremely "well organised;" and that the happy couple outdid Tom Mix in escaping to the taxi.
During the Long Vac. empty pineapple tins were deposited on the summits of Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe, Tongariro, Hauhangatahi, and Hector. And that anyone who carries a fifteen-pound halfplate camera and tripod up the slippery slopes of the sliding scoria of Ngauruhoe must be keen.
It is never too late to begin; the secretary still has some blank application forms.
Since two prominent debaters came to grief early one morning—one crashing physically, the other verbally—week-end tramps have been arranged so as not to interfere with debates.
The most philosophical of philosophers can forget his philosophy at 2 a.m. And that certain vocabularies have been enlarged by a luscious word.
Tramping parties are desired to leave gates as they find them, but shut for preference; and not to extract staples from fence-posts.
The ambitious mountaineer can get good practice on the steel towers of the power-line beyond Ngahauranga.
One of Semple's Coops. wouldn't mind chaperoning any number of parties at seven-and-six an afternoon.
If you keep to the left in Orongo-orongo, you are bound in the end to go wrong, go wrong. For it's a wrong creek that has no turning, yet among a multitude of nodules is a botanist.