By Jason, 24 April 2011
Hut bagging is the attempt at visiting as many huts aspossible. Often hut baggers will run a trip to a particular destination just sothey can say they've visited a particular hut. VUWTC has an irregular traditionwhere it tries to bag every hut in the Tararua's over the course of a singleweekend. This is no easy feat since according to the DOC website this includessome 45 huts, bivs and shelters.
After planning a somewhat optimistic trip from Otaki Forksto Poads Road which I'd be wanting to attempt for quite a while I wasreassigned to head up the attempt on another circuit. With a few new huts in mysights I wasn't too concerned with the change of plans but with two sections oftops travel and a rainy outlook the trip was looking just interesting enough.Our intended route was Holdsworth Lodge, Mountain House Shelter, Powell Hut,Mid Waiohine, Aokaporangi, Maungahuka,Neill Forks, Totara Flats and Sayers Hut.
With a long walk in front of us it was fortunate that wewere all feeling quite energetic on the Friday night and had decided to keepwalking until we’d had enough. We had a quick and uneventful walk up to Powellwhere the view was partially obscured by cloud with brief enticing glimpsesacross the valley and back down to the towns below. After a quick breather wedecided to push on to Mid Waiohine for the night. Fortunately the weathercontinued to hold and despite a few spits of rain we picked our way over thetops with relative ease. Isobel presented slightly more of a scramble thanexpected but didn’t present any real obstacles.
Having reached Mid Waiohine at 3am we decided a bit of asleep in was in order so we didn’t’ get moving again until after 9am. The walkto Maungahuka was much as you would expect in bad conditions; Wet, windy, coldand poor visibility. Despite the quickrun down to Aokaporangi (which was far more pleasant of a hut and location thanexpected) the hours we spent exposed up there were rather unpleasant. In factwe stopped at Maungahuka for a late lunch and changed into warm clothes for abit. Despite being cold and a bit irritable I was keen that we press on toNeill Forks for the night. I made my into the hut just on dusk with the othersat various intervals over the next hour or so.
Sunday was uneventful barring the point where I found myselfwading waist deep down the Waiohine in torrential rain. When the heavens openedI could do nothing but laugh at my situation. I hadn’t felt that alive in quite a while!
Thanks to Eamon and Paul for making a great trip. I know itwas a much tougher trip than you signed up for but your stellar attitudes madeit a thoroughly enjoyable walk.