Mt. Titiroa (Oct 24-26, 2015)

Three day weekends are what Dylan and I live for. That extra day means you can do a tramp that has just that little bit extra special something. This past labour weekend, we were lucky enough to finally tick one of the tramps that has been on our list for nearly a year: Mt. Titiroa.

Our local tramping club, OTMC, has had this trip on the cards a couple of times in the last year, but for one reason or another (usually weather) it hadn’t worked out. Despite the weather being a bit ick, there was the perfect window for us to knock out Mt. Titiroa before it really packed it in on Monday afternoon.

In total, there were 10 people on the trip, with 5 in each group starting from each side (Borland Lodge or crossing from Manapouri). We were lucky enough to stay in one of the club member’s family’s bach in Manapouri on Friday night. I must say, I love tramping, but man it is so good to be able to sleep in a bed on the Friday night before setting off.

We were part of the Borland lodge group, so we had about a 1 hour drive until the track start. Overall, it was a pretty uneventful day. Long – we did about 8 hours total, with a big climb and bushbashing at the end. But overall good. We weren’t too rushed, and did the very un-kiwi thing of taking our boots off at our 2 river crossings (the likely fact that we would be in snow the next day, and the fact that we weren’t really in any rush made the extra little effort of keeping our boots dry well worth it).

Rock bivvy in the borland burn

Rock bivvy in the borland burn

We arrived at our campsite at about 1100m near some tarns just as the weather really started to pack in.  Despite the freezing weather, Dylan still decided to have a quick swim (he was already out of the water by the time I actually walked up to the campsite).  The wind and rain picked up, and we all frantically set up our tents and then scurried into them (or maybe that was just me?  I don’t know.  It was cold!). Dylan and I were extremely lazy and cooked inside our tent – which turned out to be a mistake as I melted a hole in one of the mesh inner doors. Oops. 😦 Lesson learned – tie the mesh door back well before cooking under a tent vestibule.

Setting up camp at around 1100m as the weather comes in

Setting up camp at around 1100m as the weather comes in

The night ended up being one of the longest I’ve ever spent in a tent. The wind just howled and the tent shook all night long. Getting up to pee in the middle of the night was not much fun with the wind and rain whipping the tent every which way. But I was very impressed – none of the tents got blown over. I don’t know that is so much a fact that we were all in good tents (MacPac and Tarptent), or just excellent at pitching. Because it was some wind and no one really got more than a handful of hours of sleep. At least we now know that the Tarptent does stand up to high winds as well as the reviews I read claimed!

Lucky for us, the weather cleared in the wee hours of the morning, and we were greeted by a stunning sunny calm Sunday. This was exactly what we had hoped for, as it would be the day we would be crossing over the peak and we wanted the views.

It was a short climb up to 1521 where we realized there was too much snow/slippery rocks for us to stay up high on the ridgeline. Instead, we ended up using our ice axes (we were very glad we had them along) to descend back down about 1300 and travel along the east bowl and climb back up to the tarns at ~1500. For us this was definitely the most sensible route, despite us having to drop down and then climb back up again. We had lunch near the tarns, then headed across more snow up to the ridgeline. We made it to the summit of Mt. Titiroa by about 2:30 or 3 pm and it was absolutely worth it.

Practising our snow skills

Practising our snow skills

View from the top of Mt. Titiroa (1715m)

View from the top of Mt. Titiroa (1715m)

Then we had a very long descent. We decided we wanted to camp on the opposite side of the Garnockburn river – just in case the predicted heavy rain came in early. The descent was really fun – the rock formations on Titiroa are truly spectacular. And we met 2 very curious kea, who were happy to sit for literally hundreds of up-close photos. Myself and the other photographer in the group were pretty stoked to get so up close and personal with a kea. Seeing the keas was another good incentive to camp further down the mountain, as none of us had much sleep the night before, we weren’t too keen to be kept up all night by a pair of keas thrashing our tents and stealing our gear.

Our gorgeous kea friend

Our gorgeous kea friend

We had a good hour or so of bushbashing on this side of the mountain as well, though the bush was much more open and the terrain was easier going. We made it down to the snow white clearing to camp by about 6 pm. We were all shattered after a 10 hour day, but it had been incredibly epic and was absolutely a primo tramping day.

Monday we only had a short walk out to catch the water taxi back to Manapouri. It was an easy track all the way back and we were back at the bach about 2 pm.

All in all it was a choice weekend. And sure, some of the trip members had to forego the rugby to be on the trip, but in the end I think it was worth it. The weather was admittedly exciting on Saturday night, but Sunday was so superb it was worth it, the views and photos we managed to nab were truly stunning, and seeing the 2 keas so up close and personal was definitely a highlight. The trip was easily managed within the 3 days (even with snow) – overall a great alpine trip!

Amazing day

Amazing day

Happy Tramping!

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Camp Stream Hut: Sept 12-13 2015

We had 1 full weekend off after our return from Minnesota, and then of course it was back to tramping. Our first tramp (after what has essentially been a 6+ week break) was into the two thumb range, an area which Dylan has been quite keen to get into for some time now, but just hadn’t worked out.

We managed to drag our friend Mark along, who graciously provided us with snowshoes for the weekend.

As usual, we left on Friday after work about 5:30. We stopped for kebabs in Timaru, and decided to camp for the night at Pioneer Park Campground (DOC). It was a very frosty Saturday morning, as it had been raining on Friday night, everything froze – including the car doors. But eventually we were on our way to the Round Hill Ski area. We had hoped to leave our car on their road, but decided against it after we consulted with the Ski area staff. So Mark ended up dropping us off at the point where the Te Araroa trail meets the Roundhill ski area road, and drove around to park and then walk up the Coal River Easement track to Rex Simpson hut and meet up with us later in the afternoon.

Map

Map

 

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The Te Araroa trail

So our “social” trip started off with just Dylan and I on our own, as per usual. We did enjoy this section of the Te Araroa track immensely, and it was a nice short walk into Camp Stream hut, where we dropped most of our gear and immediately set off to try to meet up with Mark.

We had originally planned to meet up with Mark at Rex Simpson hut, but as we headed around, we instead decided have a quick lunch and meet him on the ridge instead. We did a small loop heading down and crossing Camp Stream, climbing back up to 1641 and then coming back in behind Camp Stream Hut.

This was only the second time I’ve ever been snowshoeing in my life, and I must say I loved it. The fantastic clear blue skies and amazing views over Tekapo probably didn’t hurt either.

Snowshoeing above Lake Tekapo - so epic!

Snowshoeing above Lake Tekapo – so epic!

We got back into Camp Stream hut about an hour or so before dusk and had a lovely evening burning the coal we carried in (though there was plenty of wood at the hut, this is never a guarantee, especially at a hut where trees are absent), taking some night photos, and making custard. Custard is officially our new favourite dessert. I can’t believe we’ve never used it before – it takes up virtually no space, weighs almost nothing and is amazing on any sort of baked good. I expect Custard will feature prominently from now on.

Camp Stream hut is by far the oldest hut I’ve ever stayed in (1898). A word to the wise, if you’re going to stay there in summer, there is no water source. We were lucky there was plenty of snow on the ground, but in a few weeks, you may be out of luck and need to haul water up ~60m from Camp stream below, or 500m down the track.

Proof it's an old hut

Proof it’s an old hut

Camp Stream hut, in all its glorious surroundings

Camp Stream hut, in all its glorious surroundings

Sunday dawned equally spectacular to Saturday, if possibly more breezy. Our goal for the day was to reach Stag Saddle. We headed up the Te Araroa trail and at the point just where we hit the snow, we played musical packs. Loading my pack up with all unnecessary gear for the day, putting my pack on Mark and sending him up the ridgeline. I took Mark’s empty pack and Dylan had his back (with day gear only) and continued up the Valley. Mark eventually met up with us, and I returned his pack to him. We then continued the slog up towards Stag Saddle. As the snow got deeper and the ascent steeper, the going became very very difficult. Even though I felt we had been making excellent time up the valley, Dylan looked at his phone which read 1 pm! We hadn’t even had lunch yet and were still a couple of hours away from Stag Saddle. We realized there was no way it was going to happen, so instead just headed for a point where we could climb back into the ridge.

Walking along the ridgeline

Walking along the ridgeline

At this point I was starving and of course it was much windier on the ridge. So Dylan went along a bit further (up to 1944 and a good view of Beuzenburg peak) which I stopped, put on a lot more clothing, and had some lunch. At this point, Mark caught up with us again after motoring it up to the ridge (having put his skins on his skis) and we came to the conclusion that it was only just 1:30 now – Dylan’s phone had the wrong time and had just been saying “1 pm” all day.

So maybe we could have made it to Stag Saddle, I’m not sure. But by that point we had made the decision to turn around and start the long walk back to the car (another concern of mine – sure we could make it to the saddle, but would I have the energy to cover the nearly 14km back to the car (and keeping in mind we travel ~3km/hour), and make it there at a reasonable time?

As it was, it was nearly dark as we drove past Lake Tekapo for the last time. We stopped for dinner at the Razza Bar in Twizel, and honestly received the most enormous feed I think I’ve ever had after tramping. Each of us got a burger and chips, but these things were absolute monsters (did I take a photo? No, I was too stuffed). Dylan and I could have split a burger and chips between the two of us, and honestly, we can both eat. Especially after tramping. So seriously, if you’re in the Twizel area, I highly suggest Razza for a massive and cheap feed (burgers were about $8-11, chips were an extra $3).

We were very pleased to get out in the snow again this winter. It’s been a very cold and snowy winter here in NZ, so why not make the most of it, right?

Happy Tramping!

The Livingstone Range (6-7 June 2015)

Another late post! Dylan and I wanted to get away on an “easy” trip the first weekend in June. We finally decided to tick off a trip that Dylan had wanted to do for 3 years now – the Livingstone range which is the ridgeline just above the Greenstone track.

We set off from work earlyish on a Friday, and made it to the Divide in good time – around 9:30 or so. We had a very crisp walk into the Lake Howden hut – took roughly an hour. I felt very guilty as we arrived into the hut around 11 pm and disturbed another pair who probably weren’t expecting other trampers to come clomping in so late at night.

Frosty fern at Lake Hawdon Hut

Frosty fern at Lake Hawdon Hut

The night was very cold and frosty. I slept about as poorly as I ever have in a hut as it was absolutely freezing. I’m not sure how it’s possible, but I’m certain Howden hut was colder inside than outside. Honestly, even Dylan was cold. It was like sleeping in a fridge.

But we had a decent start and headed back up to Key Summit and had easy travel along the tops – there is a route most of the way. We were rewarded with many spectacular views.

Reflections

Reflections

Frozen tarns

Frozen tarns

As the day progressed, the wind started to pick up and clouds started to come in – it was getting cold and I was getting tired. After some discussion, we decided to head down towards McKellar hut earlier than planned (our original plan was to hit 1543 then come down the ridge as we anticipated there might be a bit of a track there). Instead, we ended up going down a very steep face and then bush bashing for ages. I’m not sure when the last time you tried to bushbash your way through fiordland forest but I do not recommend it. I had no idea that ferns felt so much like razors on bare skin (sure it’s winter but this is NZ so who wears pants, am I right?)!

Descending back down towards McKellar Hut

Descending back down towards McKellar Hut

Bush-bashing

Bush-bashing

After a couple of hours struggling to make our way down, we finally made it back to the Greenstone track. We were very glad to see signs of civilization again. So much for an “easy” day!

Nothing quite like signs of civilization!

Nothing quite like signs of civilization!

That night we had McKellar all to ourselves (some hunters were holed up in the warden’s quarters, however) and managed to get it nice and toasty. And being the good trampers we are, we left it stocked with more wood than was there when we arrived (as many previous trampers complained about the lack of dry wood upon arrival at the hut). I hope whoever arrived after us did the good thing and continued to replenish the hut wood supply.

Re-stocking the wood in the hut

Re-stocking the wood in the hut

Paying it forward... leaving heaps of wood for future trampers

Paying it forward… leaving heaps of wood for future trampers

Sunday was a super easy day after our wood making session. And as a bonus, we came across this little guy – a species of fungus I had never seen before – for which I was incredibly thrilled.

Hotlips Puffball - Calostoma rodwayi

Hotlips Puffball – Calostoma rodwayi

Have you been able to get out on many trips this winter? Happy Tramping!

Don’t tramp when you’re sick – Lagoon Saddle Day walk ( July 4 2015)

I’m really sorry it’s been so quiet around here lately.  This winter has been plagued with sickness. And when I say this winter, I mean me. I’ve been plagued with sickness after sickness this year. I’ve managed to pick up 2 different colds and Dylan and I were both struck down with a wonderful vomiting bug. Which brings us to the first tramp we tried to do in July.  [Then August we were overseas on holiday so…  we’ve fallen behind on our posts!]

We decided to head out again a full week after I’d had the vomiting bug, and I was actually feeling pretty good. So we collected some friends and headed up to Arthur’s Pass to finally try and knock off the Cass/Lagoon track, one which has been on our list for a couple of years. We were all kitted out with our crampons and ice axes, we hadn’t forgotten any food, we left work early on Friday night so got up to Bealy hut at a very reasonable time on Friday night.

Bealy hut

Bealy hut

But Saturday morning, I woke up with a cold. And the other girl in the group (who had also recently had the same wonderful vomiting bug) was feeling ill/nauseous as well. The morning did not go well. I felt, really really terrible. Climbing is about the last thing you want to do when you feel sick. The more we walked, the more exhausted and terrible I felt. Furthermore, we weren’t even close to making track time. It was… unpleasant.

We finally got to the lagoon saddle, and decided to go as far as the Lagoon saddle shelter for lunch and reassess. Unfortunately, the lagoon saddle shelter is really basic. We had to decide if we should carry on to the next hut, stay at the (basic) shelter, or go back to Bealy hut. We ended up making the call to go back to Bealy hut, as I was worried I would feel worse on Sunday – in which would be terrible if we had more walking to do.

So that was a major bummer. I actually felt a bit better after lunch – whether it was panadol, food or simply water that made me perk up, I’m unsure. Regardless, I was still sick on Sunday, so in the end we definitely made the right call.

It was a major bummer to drive all that way and only do a day walk (with full packs, no less)! No one was really up to doing a 2nd day walk on Sunday.  However I did manage to score this photo on the way home.  Score?

Sheep near Arthur's Pass

Sheep near Arthur’s Pass

Happy tramping and stay healthy!

Flashback: Christmas 2012 recap 1: A modified Southern Crossing of the Tararuas (Dec 22-24)

Hey all!  The weather + sickness lately has prevented us from doing nearly as much tramping as we had planned this winter. In the meantime, I shall regale you with tramping tales of yore. Here’s a flashback from our Dylan and my first ever Christmas tramp (it has since become something of a tradition for us), when we were still very much tramping newbies, picking up experience as we went along…

Since we were visiting D’s grandparents in Otaki (about 1 hr north of Wellington), Dylan wanted to do a tramp in the Tararuas (literally just 5 min from Otaki).  He picked a modified version of the Southern Crossing – which is a popular route through the Tararuas.  Dylan’s Dad dropped us off near Greytown and we tramped for 3 days, coming out at Otaki forks.

The Tararuas are generally described as “rugged” and the tops are usually covered in clouds around 200 days a year.  We wanted a clear day on the tops (as you can see not only Wellington, but all the way to the South Island).  The weather forecast was constantly changing (as per usual NZ weather) but we just decided to go regardless!

Overall it was a great trip.  Day 1 was quite long – we did about 2000m total up and down over some countryside that was very aptly called “rugged”.  Our goal was Alpha hut.  We had lunch at the historic Cone Hut with had rough cut planks and a very interesting toilet.  Immediately after lunch we had to do the deepest river crossing I’d done to date (fortunately it wasn’t very wide).  Admittedly I don’t enjoy river crossings much.  This was hip deep and rather fast flowing.  Dylan and I crossed together (arms behind each others’ backs and holding onto each other’s pack straps as per proper technique).  It’s a good thing we did too, otherwise I would have definitely ended up in the drink.  Would I have drowned?  No, but I would have gotten quite wet, ended up a bit downstream and probably been very unhappy afterwards.  Thank goodness for having a big strong boyfriend to pull you across rivers!

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Toilet at Cone Hut – made of Punga (yes the wall is literally alive and growing)

We also made the mistake of not topping up our water at said river, and ran out soon after.  It was a hot day and had been raining in the morning (think jungle).  Dylan doesn’t do well in the heat – he needs about 1L of water/hr.  Fortunately, after a long climb in the heat we came across a tarn that actually had water flowing through it.  We filled up our drink bottles and used the water treatment tabs (I had bought just for this reason – having run out of water on past trips).  The tabs are great, you put 1 in 1L of water, wait 30 min and you are good to go.  It was the first time we’d used them and neither of us got sick so – that’s a win!

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The tarn that saved us!

Finally after another long up and down climb, through Hell’s gate and the goblin forest – we arrived at Alpha hut.  Much to our surprise, no one else was there. Dylan’s previous experience (from childhood) was the huts being absolutely chocka around the holidays. Not the case in 2012.

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The Goblin Forest

Day 2 we decided to get an early start.  It was another hot day.  Fortunately for us, the weather cooperated and we got some amazing views along the very steep and rugged ridgeline.  My knee also decided to pack it in after about 1 hour.  This was quite alarming as I’ve never had a knee problem before and I am way too young to have joint problems!  The next two days were quite interesting as my knee was screaming in pain anytime we had to walk downhill (which was the entirety of day 3).

We had amazing views of Upper Hutt (Wellington) and even the Kaikouras (on the South Island).  The clouds came in from the Northwest all day but stopped at the ridgeline.  It was a pretty odd effect – one side of the ridge you could see a few metres – the other side you could see Wellington.  After a lovely lunch at the top (Mt. Hector, 1529m) we had only another hour or so to get to Kime hut.  Another older hut which is in fact being replaced in 2013.

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Mt. Hector

 

Clouds along the ridgeline

Clouds along the ridgeline

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D relaxing in the sun at Kime hut

Day 3 dawned rainy, cloudy, and windy.  The typical Tararua weather!  As we descended closer and closer to Otaki forks (passing New Zealand’s oldest hut, Field hut, along the way), the wind died and the sun came out and my knee became more and more excruciating to the point where I was hobbling/limping along and Dylan kept asking if he could carry my pack (I stubbornly refused).  We finally came out at Otaki Forks – had no cell reception to ring Dylan’s Dad to come get us, so D hitched out towards Otaki while I waited with our gear.

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Field hut, built by the Tararua tramping club in 1924

And after a sweltering tramp, we ended the day swimming in the ocean at the Otaki beach.  Does Christmas Eve get much better than this?  [Only if there’s snow, of course.]

If you’re wondering how my knee fared, I went to the Physiotherapist in Tauranga on Dec 28th and it turns out my knee joint is fine, but I strained a muscle because my hip is week and the hip flexor wasn’t pulling its weight.  So I had a number of stretches and hip strengthening exercises to do.  And clearly I need to hit the hip abduction machine a lot harder at the gym!

Brewster Hut (2-3 May 2015)

Hello my fellow trampers!  So yes, Dylan and I are at least a month behind on writing up our latest trip reports…  all I can do is sincerely apologize.  I’m doing my best to remedy this by catching you up with one of the best trips we’ve done this year: Brewster Hut.

Brewster had been on our “to do” list for quite a while.  And while April was pure insanity: Otehake April 3-6, The Pisa Range April 18-19 (I’ll let Dylan write that one up), Hamner Springs for a friend’s birthday April 25-27 and I desperately wanted a weekend at home to do laundry, when our friends invited us to Brewster hut the weekend of May 2-3 and the forecast looked amazing, how could I possibly say no?

Dylan and I did the typical drive to Makarora on Friday night and spent the night at the old favourite: Boundary Creek Campsite ($6/night).  We had a slow start on Saturday, driving the to the start of the track.  It took a mere 2 hours 20 of slow, grinding climbing to make it to Brewster Hut where we had lunch, and where our friends showed up only about 10 min after we arrived.

After lunch, we all decided to try to climb Mt. Armstrong – a popular side trip from Brewster hut.  Due a fair bit of snow, and a lot of wind up the top (typical afternoon wind!), we were sadly about 15m short of the summit.  Major bummer for Dylan who had had that one on his list for quite a long time.  Definitely achievable during the summer months, or with a slightly earlier start.

We ambled our way back down to the hut and had a quiet evening taking in a stunning sunset, eating a ton of food and chocolate, Dylan and I realizing we had completely forgotten the cheese for cheese and crackers before dinner, and the cheese and oil for dinner *sigh*.  (Note: I am not a happy tramper when food gets forgotten!). Breakfast was another interesting experiment, as our grand plan of pancakes was sidetracked by our forgotten butter (safe to say we left all our cold refridgerated foods like cheese and butter back at the car).  However, we still managed decent though not very beautiful pancakes with maple syrup, banana and boysenberry jam.  😀

Sunset from Brewster Hut

Sunset from Brewster Hut

Our friends decided to get an early start back home.  But Dylan and I had to go and explore Brewster Glacier.  It was a reasonably easy (though fairly technical with a lot of sidling, scrambling and route finding, though the route is very obvious and cairned all the way) 1 hour to an amazing view point of the glacier.

Brewster Glacier and terminal lake

Brewster Glacier and terminal lake

All I can say is Wow.  Wow.  Wow.  We had such an amazing time exploring the Brewster Glacier….  And that terminal lake!  So beautiful.  We spent several hours checking out the rocks, glacial pools and ice and it was honestly magical.  There are a number of evident campsites around the area and I’m very keen to go back and camp near the terminal lake sometime next summer.

Exploring

Exploring

Playing with ice

Playing with ice

I mean, I knew that Brewster was a great trip, but I actually had no idea it was going to be that good!  I now know why it’s one of our friend’s favourite tramping spots – it’s reasonably easy to get to and very high reward!  We’re already keen to go back again.  Seriously though, this trip had everything, a nice toasty hut, good friends, amazing views, stunning sunset, keas, and was absolutely fantastic, despite us forgetting half our food!  It was one of those trips that gets tramping into your blood, and all you can think about is getting out there again.

Brewster Hut

Brewster Hut

Happy tramping!

This is the life!

This is the life!

Mt. Holdsworth/Jumbo circuit (Xmas tramp #2) Jan 1-2, 2015

Hello readers!  Yes, we did manage to squeeze in a fair bit of tramping over Xmas.  Although our original plan of doing the Thunderbolt track in the Kaimanawas fell through due to slightly iffy weather (and a lack of confidence on our part to navigate along the tops in cloud), we decided to start our Tararuas trip on Jan 1.

We rang in the new year in our wee tent in the Holdsworth Lodge camping ground just outside of Masterton.  For several years now, I’ve wanted to ring in the new year somewhere in the backcountry (last year it was supposed to be Welcome Flat Hut.  Sadly, we were rained out and the track was closed by DOC).  This year it was supposed to be somewhere in the Kaimanawas and we were rained out again.  😦  But in our tent in a campground (accompanied by some Lewis Road Creamery Chocolate Milk) wasn’t too shabby of a way to ring in the new year.  And there’s always next year, right?

The reason we chose the Mt. Holdsworth/Jumbo circuit is that in 2012, we did a modified version of the Southern Crossing which was pretty stunning.  That was my first foray into the Tararuas (though Dylan had been in with his Dad as a child) and I absolutely loved it – the old huts, the goblin forest, the steep knife edged ridgeline – honestly amazing.  Needless to say the Tararuas warranted further exploration.

Our original plan was to stay at Jumbo hut on Jan 1, then go along the tops via 3 kings or the Baldy track and descend into Mitre Flats hut.  But of course, Jan 2 dawned quite windy and admittedly, I’m not a huge fan of wind, especially seeing as how exposed we would be (Dylan, of course, being of sturdier build than I am, isn’t bothered in the slightest by wind).  So instead we had a leisurely descent out back to the Holdsworth Lodge campground, and then caught up with our friends in Wellington.  Such is tramping – being flexible and willing to alter your trip depending on conditions/abilities/level of comfort of other party members.

Trip map

Trip map

The track up to Powell hut is of a “great walk” standard meaning…  Stairs.  So.  Many.  Stairs.  Yes, it makes it easier.  But it also takes a bit of the excitement out of tramping.

Stairs.  Stairs.  Countless stairs.

Stairs. Stairs. Countless stairs.

It should also be noted that DOC has recently changed the booking system surrounding Powell, Jumbo and Atiwhakatu huts, so if you’re planning on heading to that area soon, make sure to do your research and determine if you need to pre-book your hut or not.  There was certainly a great deal of confusion about the new system among the trampers we met in the area.  At the time of writing this post, Powell and Atiwhakatu were booked huts and even provided gas, whereas Jumbo did not need to be booked and the gas was going to be removed (although luckily for us, there was still some there at the time!  Bonus!).

Mt. Holdsworth Trig

Mt. Holdsworth Trig

I think the highlight for me was coming across a fabulous swimming hole in the Atiwhakatu river on our way out – which was a very hot day.  It was clearly visible from the bridge (as seen in the photo below) and there was a little steep track off the side of the main track which led to it.  We weren’t the only ones there, so it was obviously a pretty popular swimming hole.

Swimming hole

Swimming hole

Anyways, Dylan and I hope to continue to explore more of the North Island’s tramps – we are definitely planning to do some in the Kaimanawas, Ruahines and Tararuas again as well.

Happy tramping!