Track Talk – October 2010

track talkMy recent trip to Tasmania was costly in gear terms. And I’m not talking about what I bought or repaired to prepare for the trip; that’s just normal wear-and-tearing updating. I’m talking about mistakes made due to tiredness, distraction or sheer stupidity.

It started on day one when I lost my sunglasses. While I am a big believer in Farmers eyewear, it’s still galling to shell out for my third pair in less than a year. Unfortunately I have now learned at least twice that you should never hang sunglasses on your chest strap. Then my new gloves split in their second hour of wear (I’m still waiting for the refund). I had bought a pair of instep crampons for the trip (yes, they are a bit gimmicky but I was concerned about icy boardwalk). Now I have one; its mate pollutes some spot on the Overland track. When I finally got back to civilisation, I embarked on a bit of cleansing in preparation for New Zealand customs; my bootlaces sadly failed to make it out of Hobart. I hung up my water bladder to dry it out, with the tube lying across a line of light bulbs. Melting is not pretty. When I got home and attempted to cut the tube off, I sliced a giant cut in the bladder itself.

Generally tramping is not an expensive sport, though this week having bought new sunglasses, laces, bladder and annual hut pass, I could beg to differ. After that first punishing year of gear purchase (and perhaps a second punishing year when you release not spending the $ for lighter/better gear was a mistake), things aren’t too bad. You replace things every now and then, but new gear becomes a luxury rather than necessity. I might own three forms of shelter (fly, one-person tent, two-person tent) but have enough discipline that my desire for a bivvy bag remains unrealised

Spending a weekend in the hills, even counting transport costs, always feels much cheaper than hanging out at home, where going out and eating seem to suck up money in a logicdefying fashion. You also realise how peaceful it is to spend a couple of days without feeding a cash register. Because of the sheer amount of time it takes up, tramping gives better bang for buck than something like cycling, where your expensive gear might get used for only a couple of hours a week.

People sometimes ask about our trips fares and perhaps assume we are a money making operation. Far from it. Our costs cover only depreciation on our vans, their parking and maintenance, and fuel. You might only split petrol money when heading away with mates but the car owner then pays the hidden cost of real running charges (generally spending on petrol is estimated to be half the cost of operating a vehicle). As a nonprofit organisation, we deliberately set our charges to match our costs as exactly as possible. The National Government has chosen to increase GST to 15 percent and we need to pass on this increase in our trip fares from 1 October – mostly it is only another $1 or 2.

The Spring schedule may have only just sprung into action but soon it will be time to start thinking about our Summer programme. Keep a note of those exciting new routes you’re dreaming up.

Trips during the next month:

8-10 October Ruahine FP – Mokai
Tramp EM Ironbark via Otukota – Anna Lambrechtsen
Tramp MF Wakelings – Richard Lardner
Day M Battle Hill Transmission Gully – Helen Law

15-17 October Lodge / Wgtn walks
Day EM Chateau/Mangatepopo – Garry Skipper
Tramp M Northern Circuit (photography) – Richard Young
Day M Wainui/Catchpool – Marie Henderson
Family All Makara Beach walk – Mike Gilbert

22-25 October Labour Weekend Nelson Lakes NP
Tramp E Mystery Nelson Lakes – Garry Skipper
Tramp EM Sabine/Blue Lake – John Hickey
Alp2 F Mt Franklin – Sharron Came
Kaweka FP
Tramp EM Kiwi Saddle – Megan Banks
Tramp M Kiwi Saddle/Manson – Michael Lightbourne
Tramp MF Kaweka Range/Makino Leader Required

29-31 October Ruahine FP – Kashmir Rd
Tramp E Irongate via Pohangina Saddle – Anna Lambrechtsen Tramp M Longview/Howletts/Daphne – Simon Lillico
Tramp F Longview/Te Hekenga/Irongate – Mike Phethean
Day EM Skyline/Kaukau – Mike Gilbert

5-7 November Orongorongo FP (Guy Fawkes)
Tramp E Paua Hut – Garry Skipper
Tramp EM Paua via Cattle Ridge – Melissa Hewson/Sally Colbeck
Tramp M Catchpool/Lake Wairarapa – Hans Wierskerke/Mika Verheul
Tramp F Papatahi Pk/Mt Matthews – Bernie Smithyman
Day MF Mt Matthews – Murray Sutherland

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