A few months ago my husband – Lean – mentioned experimental research which proved that spending time 1,000m or more above sea-level resets the hypothalamus (metabolism function), and supports the thyroid gland. My thyroid is hypo-active, so naturally I was totally keen. We signed up for Rangiwahia Hut with Megan and Ian, Yao, Nicky, and Linda.
We met, and left Wellington station; dark coastal drive then onto the highway to the Mangaweka campground. Stopped at Bulls – we all had Mediterranean food – lovely. Mangaweka campground was pretty, but cold and windy. Heard some slips during the night.
Everyone was up from about 7; hot coffee and breakfast all round. We tried out a sweet couscous nut & fruit with cardamom dish – nice hot start to the day. Quick decamp, off again at about 9. Drove through pretty countryside, mostly livestock farming, a bit of crop agriculture.
After a detour to collect the 2nd team van, we arrived at the starting point – packs on, and up the hill. As this was my first tramp to the tops, and I am the least fit in the group, it was a little graunching.
The others went ahead, to meet us at the bridge. Arrived at the slip detour – challenging for me, as progress is made by grasping trees, rocks, and roots. Over the slip, down the other side – slightly hair-raising. Met Megan and Ian; the wooden bridge is beautifully constructed in an arc – more weight on it gives more stability; clever design. We had a lunch of pressed Turkish pide stuffed with pastrami, cheese, tomato, and pesto – delish. Beautiful view of the waterfall and river.
Onward and upward – started seeing evidence of recent snowfalls; Ruapehu was completely covered in snow, as well as the surrounding mountains. We finally reached the Hut – icy cold winds, and incredible views of the snowcapped mountains. So worth the climb.
Yao, Nicky, and Linda had continued exploring beyond the hut.
Lovely hut, well-kept and spacious – we were the only group there. We settled-in; hot drinks, then dinner preparations. The Chorizo couscous was lovely, but Megan’s dessert of ginger bread, peaches and cream was delicious.
The gas heater was a little tricky to get going, and has a 30-minute burn time cycle. It needs to cool before it can be lit again. When we had it going, the hut was lovely and cosy.
Bedtime, great snooze all-round, up and coffee. I tested my omelette-in-a-bag unsuccessfully; it turned into a poached omelette; delicious with pita bread. Quick pack and we left with a 30-minute head-start. Going back is always easier; primarily downhill, we reached the bridge quickly. Had a snack and a little waltz to celebrate, and then off again. Soft rain and cool wind throughout.
We saw a new type of mushroom, not covered in our NZ wild food book. Also encountered a new lichen, very large and looks like kelp leaves/fronds. Crested the detour, down the other side, quick-march to the car park. We made it with 30 minutes to spare, thanks to my home-made jet-fuel energy bars.
Scenic drive, stopped at Fielding for lunch; brilliant coffee. Back to Wellington station through light drizzle. Disembarked, cheery chat, everyone set off home. Lovely tramping experience with Megan and Ian, great group. Keen to find out if my hypothalamus has been reset! It felt like a 2-week soul-cleansing holiday…