Our Annual General Meeting is almost with us again, and a chance for all of us to review what has been achieved by the club over the last year. The various reports in the accompanying Annual Reports booklet are well worth a read for you to understand the wide range of activities the club has engaged in over this time.

It is also a time to look to the future as we face the challenges presented to us – we will not operate ATC SnowSports Lodge when the primary benefit is obtained by people who are not members of the club. The current regulatory environment and fixed cost structure demands that the Lodge is run as a business with significant administrative overheads rather than the more causal club focused location of a few decades ago.

I am pleased to announce that we have club members who have come forward to fill the vacant positions of treasurer, huts officer, and weekend trips booking officer. Without people such as these the club would not be able to operate. We still need a social convenor to take this role off my plate, and within the next one to two years a replacement president is well overdue.

We had a relaxing weekend away in the Waikato, first traversing Maungatautari, and then following the pleasant track to the top of Kakepuku – that pointy peak between Pirongia and Te Awamutu that us perpetual Auckland attempted escapees have driven past so many times in our travels south – and then again on the way home.

But then a major disruption to our tramping occurred when Keith, our driver for the weekend, incurred a severe ankle strain. He was able to drive the bus to the Hamilton A&E, but no further. Fortunately Simon Rainger was available to come to our rescue, immediately dropping everything to drive to Hamilton and then bring the bus back to Auckland. Thankyou Simon !

This summer and autumn has seen so much rain, and as a result we are finding that some of our usual tracks and routes are in poor condition, closed, or not accessible. So a timely reminder for leaders … and all intended party members for that matter …. to check track conditions and availability well in advance. As I write this, we expect to have to rearrange our four Queens Birthday Weekend trips in the western Ureweras to a different location because SH38 from Te Waiti through to Waikaremoana is closed for many weeks because of slips.

The good news is that we have so many other great backcountry destinations that provide a range of trip options for us. So do take care – but keep on enjoying your own special parts of our world.

Happy tramping !

Tony Walton