By DominicOberhumer, 17 June 2013
Trip report for Taranaki Trip, 31 May- 3 June
So. It was nearly 5pm and no one else had arrived yet. Serves me right for arriving early.
Dom and Paul (our emergency contact) arrived at five and as per tramping club time, the others trickled in over the next hour or so. We split up into our teams, divvied up group gear and divided into our last minute transport- a van and a car. With four people per group (mostly) it was roughly split with Rosy and Dom's teams in the van, and Josh's team in the car.
The ride there was a bit of a race with various food stops and a few mistakes along the way (the car stopped in "fake Levin" and the van took a detour) but we all got to North Egmont road eventually, around one in the morning. Yaaay.
There was white stuff on the ground and it was pretty bloody chilly. We all packed our packs, took photos of the moonbow and the mountain, and then set off.
We walked up the Puffer, then entered the "depuff zone" for a breather, and then continued up the concrete/snow path which was not so fun. We reached the Tahurangi Lodge (thanks Josh) at about 2am, I believe. Might have been 3. I don't know, but it was late and so we sneaked in, and got to sleep in a room set aside for us that was really, really hot.
In the morning we had breakfast and hung about in the main room for a bit, microwaves and all, and then eventually we decided it would be a good idea to head to Holly Hut.
Josh's team took a different path to the other groups, going and hanging out at a skifield for a bit with a reconstructed couch which has more history than any piece of furniture I've ever met, and then returned to the Lodge for a nap, apparently.
The other two teams went straight to the hut, tramping through the snow (which was AWESOME) and later the rain (which was not) and discussing our challenges and for Dom's team at least, telling lots and lots of riddles. Go Team Go Team Go!
The challenges were a set of activities we could complete for points, including riddles and photographic challenges. These would be compared on the final night and the winners decided.
We arrived at Holly Hut for lunch, which was a lovely short day, and hung up all our clothes and a few damp sleeping bags. The MFRE News Team (Rosy's group- don't ask me what that stands for!) recorded a brief report of weather conditions and other news items.
Josh's team hadn't arrived by sunset so we decided they'd stayed at the Lodge another night. We made dinner (Holly Hut has solar lighting!), played cards, chatted with the other trampers when lo and behold, the sodden BAMFGOATs arrive! The drying line was quickly rearranged and so the entire group was reunited.
The next day, most of our intrepid group decided to go see the waterfall, which was reportedly small but apparently in actual fact quite large (and cold). However some of us lazier trampers decided to stay dry and warm at the hut instead.
After another lunch at Holly Hut, we all backtracked a little to head to a hut that I cannot remember the name of but was quite long and I think started with a T. Our team made pauses along the way to complete the challenges (which we hadn't really started by this point) and entered the Sphagnum Swamp, nature's kidney, and avoided harming the kidney by walking on the boardwalk. I think the teams mostly condensed at this point, as we arrived at The Stairs of Doom.
There were lots of stairs, and stair related jokes, and personal development advice such as "start doing squats and stop shaving" which apparently works for both guys and gals.
So it was getting quite misty by the time we got to the hut, which was full of kids. Sam of the BAMFGOATs taught the kids a card trick, and the little pyros played with the candles endlessly, filling them with bits of tissue paper and stuff. Another couple who had been there had gone onto another hut, which was fairly understandable.
After dinner and after the other trampers had gone to bed, it was time to find the winner of the challenges!
I don't really have the points breakdown, but as I recall the MFRE News Team won. Drinks all around! The news team had another report to make, calling upon all the multinational representatives in our group from Sweden, Samoa, America and a brief shot of Canada I think.
Eventually we all got to sleep (with a couple of bedtime stories from the top bunk) and woke up before sunrise the next morning for our longest walk of the trip.
It was very misty and quite cold, and we had some MORE STAIRS before we reached a peak from which "on a good day" you could apparently see all of creation, but as it was all we could see was a blank white canvas. Which was somewhat cool, but also disappointing.
There was much walking, a little map reading and bridge confusion, and an awesome sign of death left by the quick group who were going to pick up the transport and drive down so we didn't all have to walk up the road. The slower groups had lunch at 9.30am (yep) at a shelter and walked down to the roadend, where there were bets over how long the cars would take to arrive. I'm not sure who won that. But we were out in plenty of time given the time we woke up, and the drive back to Wellington was punctuated by foodstops, coffee breaks, and more importantly a view of Mount Taranaki, which we hadn't had since the night we arrived.