Guess who spent three full days out in the bush on Easter Weekend? Yes, you got it! Pretty little princess me! I know! I can’t believe that I went on another tramp – a real one this time (Tramping Partner insists that the first one he took me on was just a sampler, and not the real thing) – and guess what. Not only did I enjoy the Holdsworth-Kaitoke Track (well, I think I did anyway), I have … once again … survived to tell the tale.
Day 1 – Holdsworth to Totara Flats
My Easter Weekend Adventure started out on Friday morning. We left home at about 7:30 am and drove on to Upper Hutt to catch up with a friend of my Tramping Partner (whom I shall now refer to as TP). TP’s friend had agreed to drive us to the Kaitoke Roadend (where we expected to exit) and also drop us off at Holdsworth (where we would start our trek). I thought the Holdsworth Entrance was just a hop, skip and a jump away but no … we actually had to drive over the Rimutakas to reach our destination. At that point, I was going “uh-oh” in my head. I forgot all about my fears though when we had a coffee stop at Everest Bistro. My goodness gracious … they had the most divine almond croissant pastry I have ever tasted! That alone was worth climbing hills for.
Weniwei – we were dropped off at Holdsworth and we started on our journey. We walked up towards the Rocky Lookout (as expected, I huffed and puffed my way up). We had a bit of a rest here, took a few photos and then, in order to make sure we had a bunk for that evening, we powered our way to Totara Flats Hut.
The track to Totara Flats wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. From Rocky Lookout we walked up along the Gentle Annie Track then downhill towards the Totara Creek Track. We just kept following the marked path, crossed two foot bridges and one scary-a$$ swing bridge (maximum capacity: 1 person) and then voila … we found ourselves at the Totara Flats Hut.
Unlike the last time where I almost collapsed with exhaustion upon reaching the hut, this time I was able to still laugh and joke around and even walk to the Waiohine River to refill our water bottles (and take a few photos, of course – see below).
Yes, I ran out of breath, but that’s expected since I’ve never really gone on tramps or hikes or even girl-scout camps. Today – all went well.
Total Time Walked: 4 1/2 hours (including “can we please stop or else I’ll die” breaks and that one tiny tumble at a bubbling brook)
Total Distance Covered: about 13 kilometers
DAY 2 – Totara Flats to Tutuwai Hut
I was already forewarned that Day 2 would be difficult. We’d have to walk for at least 6 hours to get to the next stop (Cone Hut or Tutuwai Hut). I was told that I should prepare myself for an uphill walk when we reach Cone Saddle but after that it would be easy peasy. HAH! Whatever! Well – in fairness, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The gale-force winds made walking a wee bit difficult, but the ascent didn’t kill me.
On Day 2, we got up at the crack of dawn because we wanted to be ahead of everyone else. After we had breakfast, and of course, tidied our packs, we went on our merry way. From the hut, we walked across a flat area called (surprise!) Totara Flats until we reached a slight bend along the river. Stopped for a rest and to consult our maps and then we clambered up the river bank to go back to the marked trail. Went up a little no-name hill (same one we did on Waitangi Day weekend, only from the other side) and got lost several times along the way. Somehow, even though I was feeling a bit crook, and TP was definitely feverish, we still managed to find our way to Cone Saddle. From there, we had to follow what had to be a goat track to get to Cone Hut. It wasn’t really a difficult track but it was annoying because everything was overgrown and I felt like the walk wasn’t ever … EVER going to end.
But it did. We got to Cone Hut which was occupied so we busted our way to Tutuwai Hut (which had a new long drop – whoohoo!) where we stopped and rested for the night. Some photos of the day, below:
Total Time Walked: 8 1/2 hours (including rest and meal breaks, map-consulting breaks, and three tiny tumbles – yes, it was also “embarrass yourself day”)
Total Distance Covered: roughly 15 kilometers
Day 3 – Tutuwai Hut to Kaitoke Roadend
This is it. The last day of the three-day trek which is supposed to be the easiest walk of all – and why not? We’ll be walking alongside the Tauherenikau River most of the way and just have to go up a teeny-weeny hill near Kaitoke and then we’re home – well, almost anyway. So after breakfast, we packed our gear and headed off.
To be totally honest, I think I found this walk the most challenging of all simply because of the number of slips we had to cross! About an hour and a half after leaving Tutuwai we encountered our first road block (a massive slip) and I think we took the long way around it. Then we lost track of an orange marker and ended up walking through a thicket of who-knows-what-they-are-called-prickly-plants. Had to double back and found the orange arrow hidden amongst the trees. I think we crossed two more slips, but TP said that in total, we probably walked across five. Sadly, I no longer had the strength nor the inclination to take pictures. Hey, don’t get me wrong, the views were amazing but at this point, all I wanted to do was to go home.
So, we followed the Dobson Loop Track and went up and down Puffer Saddle until we were on YMCA land. While walking a tree-lined path, I looked up and saw, framed by trees and leaves, a white vehicle. OMG It’s TP’s car!! We made it!
Total Time Walked: 6 1/2 hours (including “where the bloody hell is that orange marker” moments)
Total Distance Covered: approximately 17 kilometers
The next walk will be up Colonial Knob (weather permitting). Apparently, I need to build up my endurance so I can, one day soon, do the Southern Crossing. (huwhat?)