Where am I??
Wandering aimlessly & exasperatedly for hours. Worries turn into desperation. Add thirst, fatigue and darkness into the equation – and you are in danger!
Believe me. It’s not a nice feeling!
Our Haukura Ridge Nav trip with Amanda was to practice some off track nav skills to avoid such situations. Knowing the basic use of map and compass is an indispensable outdoor skill. It can spell the difference between an enjoyable outing and an untimely misadventure.
Friday night saw us driving to Putara Roadend with rain pounding against the car. I think I actually vocalised why we felt the need to venture outside and go tramping in it….. When we got to the carpark, we saw that for some reason we weren’t alone in going tramping. Luckily they were all heading off towards Roaring Stag.
The climb up to Herepai got us warmed up quickly but then hail started coming down rather forcefully. Great! Now I was questioning again what I was doing tramping out in this weather? Luckily we got to the hut not long after it but it did turn out to be a pretty cold night inside the hut.
The next morning we woke to find the hail had stuck around due to the coldness. We meandered back along the track towards the junction looking for an old track called “Bottles Track.” It is marked by some track markers shaped like bottles that we had all missed the night before in the dark and I’ve missed on my previous trip up to Herepai. Observation is also a crucial skill of navigation. Opps!! I wasn’t sure if this boded well for the rest of the trip….
The track was a little overgrown at times and we had to navigate across a steep slip to get down to Ruapae Stream. Shay expertly boulder hopped across to keep his boots dry while the rest of us resigned ourselves to going straight through and getting our boots wet. It was then a steep climb up Haukura ridge. As we got to the edge of the bushline, we found ourselves enveloped in scrub that was getting taller and taller. Even though Amanda was less than a metre in front of me, she kept disappearing from my sight in the thick scrub.
At this point the hail started again to add to the coldness of the strong wind. The tall scrub meant our progress was slow and with the turn in the weather we thought it would be wise to admit defeat this time and save it for another attempt in better weather over summer. We then scrambled and slid back down the ridge to Rupae Stream with periodic hail, rain, and brief moments of sunshine.
We then crossed Ruapae Stream and followed a spur back up to the marked track. From there it was a nice easy walk back along to Herepai hut. Not long after we arrived at the hut the Easy group turned up to keep us company and play a few card games while enjoying a nice warm fire.
Sunday involved a short stroll back down to the carpark during which time Shay thought it would be a good time to practice gymnastics on the bridge…