Weekend - Friday 9 May 2014 to Sunday 11 May 2014 (3 days)
Friday evening: After about 5 mins of spreading out and occupying as much space as possible, the alpha members of Auckland tramping got comfortable, while the rest of us were squashed up towards the back of Big Blue.
Being new to the club I knew my place, and that place was closest to the door. If you like sleeping in bursts of no longer than 10 minutes this is the spot for you. Alphas have a lack of compassion and that means that you can expect to feel, through your tender parts, their not so tender bony knees as they take multiple toilet breaks throughout the night. Sometimes they’ll close the door on their return which I think is really nice of them. Still I got 43 x 2 minute sleeps so can’t complain. Bonus - nobody snored or wafted.
Saturday: Time for a quick breakfast before our group drove to the Corcoran Road end of the park. Just like the legendary George Nepia, Lee led the group from the back. Tony ably assisted at the front. With the weather looking great we set off along the Tirohanga Track and as we diverted towards the Mahaukura Track via the Ruapane link we took a few minutes break to remove a layer or two before carrying on.
During the early parts of the hike, it was relatively good under foot. It got a bit more difficult as we got onto the ridge where the path narrowed and got steeper. The main feature of the ridge was a series of spurs. This meant we had to negotiate steep climbs, followed by, some would argue, more difficult descents. I wondered how long these spurs would go on for. I found out 5 hours later as we arrived at the summit.
A couple of hundred metres on from the summit was the Pahautea Hut. The area is under renovation with a new hut almost finished, but the camp sites were finished and used by many of the group.
Sunday: The highlight of the trip was the sunrise. Gareth found the ideal spot to watch it over breakfast. If you are ever up there make sure you watch daybreak from the helicopter pad. Sensational!
Afterwards most of the group took themselves off to the Cone and gushed about some enchanted forest they saw en route. A few others used this time to relax and get organised for the trip down.
So it was then that we began our journey towards Corcoran Rd along the Tirohanga Track.
That’s right, along a ridge, a ridge full of spurs. Bloody hard work, no doubt about that but very rewarding in the end. A close second to the sunrise was getting into the back of big Blue stretching out, relaxing and enjoying the view as Lee drove us off to Pirongia West Road to pick up the other groups and then on to the garage in Auckland. I know how much I enjoyed the rest in Big Blue after quite a tough walk, so a massive thanks to Lee for leading the group and then driving us home. Brilliant!
We were Andrew, Lee, Gareth, Tony, Sally and Tim (most noble scribe!!)