Weekend Trip - Friday 27 April 2012 to Sunday 29 April 2012 (3 days)

After much organizing with vehicles, when poor old Rover (Carol’s camper) was not going to be up to the weekend and Jeannine was volunteered by Carol to use her Big Green, also a camper, we were off with a group of 14 all arriving at different times. Lindsay and I towing the trailer with some of the mountain bikes, caught up with a group in the green camper on the road into Rotorua - can’t really miss a large green camper with mountain bikes on the back!

We arrived at Whirinaki Forest Lodge around 8pm and soon had ourselves sorted into the two units I had booked. The next car with four arrived about an hour later with the last group of two just after 10pm - all off to bed. An early start and we loaded the camper with the trailer and then Garry (the lodge owner)’s wagon with the rest of the bikes. His vehicle carried 8 people and 8 bikes. Scott, Carol’s son, did not want to get out of bed and be organized and we asked Lindsay to go and try to coax him out, but after a discussion, “I don’t need to be organized by my mother”, Lindsay informed him that he needed to get used to it because from Mum it went to Wife and you had a lifetime of it. I don’t think it helped and we set off without him.

In the end a group of 11 arrived by vehicle at the Okahu Valley Rd end.

This is the start of the 38km-long Moerangi Mountain bike track. The track is wide enough and a gentle steady climb has you over a saddle and following the Whanagatawhai stream until you reach Skip’s Hut. Then another climb over to Rogers Hut. On the downhill a brake failed, requiring a bit of maintenance before we headed off along the benched track above the Moeorangi stream. At this point the party got a little strung out and Carol, who was tail-ender, was left with the slow one (my husband). After a bit of a wait at the Moerangi Junction we were given a message by a group of young guys that “the old couple at the back” would be along in 15mins. Much laughter later, the old couple arrived. Carol was more than happy to leave the old man with me.

 Pit stop by Rodgers Hut, Photo Jackie Hillman At this point the group all set their own pace as there is a huge climb up and then down back into the Whirinaki, to River Rd end. Downhill is not for the faint of heart. With Lindsay and I now at the back we met Scott coming in from the road end. He had come in with Garry for the afternoon pick up. All was well and the first group was out and returned to the lodge, showered and pot luck dinner organized before the tail enders arrived. Much laughter and eating and the odd drink saw a lot of tired bodies in bed around 9.30pm.

Morning saw a few deciding not to do anymore. The rest of the group loaded up a car and the camper with the trailer and set off for Old Fort Rd, 15mins away where there is a choice of 3 circuits to do, 16, 12 & 6 kms, all interlinked. As well as a walking track to the H tree

It was a great morning, with everyone having a choice to suit what they wanted. Back to the lodge for a shower and late lunch before loading up and heading home, albeit with a few extra bruises. I had lots of calls regarding this trip so I am sure that it will be run again.

We were: Carol and Scott Exton, Tina (scribe) and Lindsay Jacques, Christine Sabin, Jeannine Wardley, Allen Small and Debbie Payne, Jackie Hillman, Brent Rose, Kathy and Ian Engelbrecht, Alan and Linda Cole.