Originally this trip was going to Howlett’s Hut in the Ruahines, but looking at the weather outside on Friday and the forecast ahead, Kevin and the trip leader of the tandem EM group (Garth) made the right decision to postpone and relocate to the Tararuas. After having a pie stop en route (unusual on the way in to a tramp a member of the public commented!) we arrived at the road end and prepared ourselves for the seemingly endless rain and set off around a leisurely 11 am.
The Mediums set off first and hit the incline with plenty of energy; the rain was constant but not defeating us! We headed on to Blue Range Hut for lunch and tried to keep warm while sharing stories and curious chocolate (pretzel and peanut?) We saw the EMs on our way out the hut and powered on towards Cow Creek.
After a long descent we came to an opening along the Waingawa River and then back into bush. Due to the heavy rain a side stream had become quite swift and high so we crossed in pairs for extra safety.
The bridge close to the hut was fantastic and we crossed it as daylight was fading fast around 5 pm. Cow Creek Hut is a sweet six bunk hut with no water (river/bucket excursions required). A fire was made quickly and the hut became very cosy. Dinner was a true team effort and lots of fun.
A few ingredients were accidentally left behind at Blue Range but we had more than plenty to re-fuel and enjoy. A nice early bed time in Cow Creek (before 9 pm) – and then up for breakfast at 7am. After a leisurely breakfast we made a getaway just before 8.30 am
The rain had stopped during the night and we left the hut with clearer weather, making the same track out seem a lot different. For example, we had views this time around!
It felt like a heavy slog back up a seemingly sharp and long incline but we all made good progress and were met with some winds and clear skies on the tops. We took a detour to Blue Range Hut for a speedy lunch and to re-fill our water vessels, then started a muddy and fast descent to meet the EMs at the road end before 2 pm. We heard a few birds, saw a fantail and enjoyed the dappled sunlight through the trees.
“It’s not the Tararuas without a slip”, and boy Caryl was right: a few of us fell, but thankfully nothing serious! And by the end of the trip we looked like we hadn’t suffered at all.
Always a big thanks to trip leaders for organising and making enjoyable weekends happen; thanks Kevin! We had a lovely group, and though personally I hope not to go back to the Tararuas this year, I had a good time.