Monday, December 3, 2007

Introduction to Hutt Valley Tramping club.

So the old knee feeling a bit more stable and stronger decided to venture out with the Hutt Valley Tramping Club. After all been talking about it for long enough.

So how did the day go...? Lets just say had to wait til today ( Monday) to get enough energy to blog it!

All started with a meeting at Rimutaka Forest Park car park at 8am, well a little after by the time we got through the gates and boots on.
Five of us seemed to march along the easy track to the Orongorongo stream together. All going well, lots of chatting and time for me to get to know the others a little.

Trip Leader showing how to not get boots wet, as we head up river crossing a couple of times before the grunt up Goat Steam. At about this point I was starting to wonder if I had taken on a little more than I could handle, a bit of a habit of mine. But chose not to think on it any more and just kept climbing , puffing and sweating.

Terrain leveled out and the magic of the forest overcome any thoughts of turning back.

'So where are those elves hiding.'

'I wonder what the rest of the world is doing right now'

Traversing across toward South Saddle inspired thoughts of magical forests and creatures, feels so far from civilization, such freedom.

South Saddle just behind that tree with the first of the humps up to Mt Matthews.

South Saddle. The trees reflect the ferocity of the howling westerly winds this area is exposed to....thankfully not during our visit.

I am sure Mr Frodo and Samwise passed this way on their epic journey to Mordor.

'The trees have eyes Mr Frodo, they are watching us...'

'So we take that ridge over there..'

'No no, this steeper one over here'

Trip leader and Mountain Man discuss the route down, again seems we will not be following the main track.

' I am going down that steep ridge...'

Trip leader seems to be conjuring up some plan for the descent...wonder if it has anything to do with scratchy leather bush and stinging nettles.

After much bantering and heckling we approached the summit and became surrounded with a soft covering of cloud, just enough to keep the temperature comfortable.

As height increased so did the views through the clouds. Looking down into the Wairarapa gave some reality and satisfaction to the height we had gained.

Of course the encouraging updates from the Trip leader consulting his altimeter, also kept us going. '100 m to go 98m....oops now back to 105m....

Stark beauty, the old trees still maintain a presence.

The climb much rewarded with the stunning view from the 941m summit Mt Matthews. View of Lake Ferry and the gorgeous coast line, not the mention the Lake Ferry pub, Mountain Man assured us he could see.

A lunch break on the top then begins the 'hard part' according to Trip Leader. A bit of a bush bash along the ridge north west of the summit til we find the spur.

And then, in the words of the Leader , the ' interesting part' of the climb down the spur to the rocky river below.

Again evidence of the prevailing winds in this area, and the steepness of the descent.
After a bit of a slog down the river, and much clambering over rocks, fallen trees a hut emerges from the trees.

The HVTC hut, a very original slab built hut which gave the impression of a vast history and full of stories.

A quick stroll across the river to Bains Hut and a team shot to finish the adventurous part of the trip. Left to trudge the couple of hours back along the river and Ororongorongo track to the car park arriving at the car around 7pm. A big day and I think slower than expected probably due to my wobbly knee and slow descent.

Parting shot.... cool evening light reflecting from the stream. Calm and still ... much as the spirit is after a challenging and exhilarating day in the Rimutakas.
Needless to say I will be joining this group again on adventures.
A superb experience, body, mind and spirit well satisfied.
Thank you team!