By Jason, 07 May 2009
Party: Jason, Alyn, Shaun, Kate, Terra, Hazel, Guy plus countless others who took the easy way in
This year Gourmet I was held at Roaring Stag hut in the North Eastern Tararuas. This years format was a little different with each group being assigned to prepare either an entree, main, or dessert (rather than each group doing their own thing for the entire meal). Although I came up with the idea I must admit to being a little skeptical at how well this would work when we had 30+ people sign up for the trip. However with two entrees, three mains and two desserts it worked really well. We indulged on cheese and crackers, scones, Craig's famous tramping chickens (x4!!!), delicious spuds, ratatouille, assorted veg, pancakes with caramelised fruit, a massive bag of lollies, chocolate galore, brownies and a batch of Mikey's special tramping slice.
Haha so now that your mouth is watering I'll get into the tramping...
I was keen to make Gourmet into a slightly more adventurous trip for anyone I could convince to come along with me. So despite a less than desirable forecast 7 of us set on Friday night to Kiriwhakapapa road end. Well some of us did, the others thought we were going to Putara... Anyway after realising that we had never confirmed where we were going we managed to get hold of the others and eventually all end up in the same place. The climb up to Blue Range hut went quite quickly and in less than two hours we were all tucked up in our sleeping bags.
We had decided to be on the track by 8am since we were expecting a 7 – 8 hour day and we didn't want to get to Roaring Stag too late. There's not much to be said about the first few hours except that it was your typical wander along a bush track mixed with light bouts of rain. Oh and that Terra and Kate were quite heavily involved in a discussion about baby seals which somehow turned into talk of rotten sewage... Ahhh how I love VUWTC!
Another quick climb saw us well above the bush line and on Cattle Ridge. Up there the conditions got worse the higher we climbed. First a crisp breeze hurried us into jackets, hats and gloves. This was fortunate enough because shortly afterwards it started snowing :) The further we climbed up into the fog the thicker the ice on the tussock became. It was about now I started craving and ice-block... So I spend the rest of the time on the tops picking ice of the tussock and sucking on that!
Although it was pretty cool up there it was not a place we wanted to stand around in so there was no stopping except for a quick check of the map. After several stops to debate which way we were supposed to be going we spotted the poles leading down to Cattle Ridge hut. We stopped there for a brief lunch and exchanged a few words with the three hunters staying there. None of us wanted to stop for long because it still wasn't that warm and of course there was the prospect of good times and with good company several hundred metres below.
Alyn, Shaun, Hazel and I arrived at the hut just on 3pm and surprisingly had it all to ourselves. With the impending hordes expected to start arriving in the next hour or two we set about making the most of the quite time. Starting the fire, claiming bunks, hanging up wet clothes to dry and getting changed. I decided I'd like to go for a swim and fortunately there were a couple of towels hanging in the hut. I then manged to convince Alyn and Shaun it was a good idea so they went in as well :)
Then the others started arriving in small groups. Before long the place was packed, the hut very toasted, the entrees being served, and the drink flowing. Everyone seemed to be having a great time!
Despite the forecast the next day dawned sunny, and it just got better and better! As with all good social trips there was plenty of faffing about in the morning with breakfast, joking about, teasing of those with hangovers, and locking of people in the long drop. By mid morning people started drifting away from the hut and back along the short track to the cars.
All in all Gourmet I 2009 was a great success!!!