It had been a beautiful week of weather. Of course the forecast for this, the following week is also primo! However, in-between, we would be tramping in horizontal rain with a southerly bringing a wind chill and a not-so-balmy minus 5 degrees.
Most of us had what we needed and other put a little more into their 70+L pack to add substantial weight, whilst others had everything jammed into a 30L pack and as a consequence had to leave out things like gloves!
On Friday night Craig continued his porch bagging quest. Although lacking in alpine views, the size of the covered porch at the new Atiwhakatu Hut was much to his liking. He said he slept better outside which was confirmed by our breakfast stories of human sized rats sifting through their tramping packs to find their favourite flavoured muesli bars at a time that was surely a little late to be called a “midnight feast”?
With cold weather and high winds our original plan of bagging McGregor Biv en-route was quickly thwarted and the leader amended the route to go up the East Holdsworth, or “Fast Holdsworth” as some paint perhaps deliberately chipped from the sign indicated.
Hungry bellies and sapped energy saw the intention of reaching the bushline for lunch adjusted to ducking to the more sheltered side of the ridge for a quick snack – Well quick for some, and others prepared a dehy. meal! Not recomended on the tops in the windy cold with limited water! As we werent moving, we started getting a bit cold and needed to get going. Craigs frozen digits were barely able to pull the zips closed after jamming everything back into his daypack.
As predicted with the bushline came warmth, but only relatively speaking. The descent seemed endless but did eventually lead to Mid-Waiohine Hut. This was everyone’s first time here and I must say, there is very impressive swimming hole, if only it were summer. Wait it is high summer!? And it’s even been a very warm summer too. If only that were true today!
After dinner most of us played “bananagrams” and some were snoring at 715pm! That has to be a club record. Craig retreated to his fly, while the other hardy souls shared the hut with their many littl’ four legged friends for the night.
It may have been a dry night, but the rain soon returned as we climbed back up to Holdsworth. This time we saw the inside of a different cloud than the previous day. Although a little less windy this time, it felt a lot colder so we were pleased to be able to have hot soup/drinks with lunch at Powell Hut.
Leaving Powell, a number of steps have been added on the way to Mountain House. I’m not sure that they are all necessary but undoubtedly part of DOCs mission to make the outdoors more accessible to families. Not having a huge amount of time for our agreed rendezvous time with the MF trip, I may have even pretended to run some of the way down the Gentle Annie track.