Scouts are nothing if not adaptable. As we gathered outside the Scout Hall early Saturday morning, we learned that unlucky Edward had taken a tumble and possibly broken his wrist. So Jenny and Mark were occupied with Xray duty rather than car shuttles in the Wairarapa. Undeterred, we quickly adjusted plans and set off.
Celebrating the beginning of winter, our intrepid party of 6 scouts and venturers, and 4 leaders/ parents, tackled the two day trip from Holdsworth road end to Walls Whare on the Waiohine River. This is a classic Tararua trip; the steady uphill on the gentle Annie, the reward of a sunny lunch stop at Rocky Knob with its great outlook and then the tree root infested steep downhill to the Totara Stream. The new track is in good shape across undulating ridges, finally reaching the new bridge 1km up from the confluence with the Waiohine River. Tired trampers went one by one across the old swingbridge in blissfully calm conditions and reached the Totara Flats hut late afternoon, shortly followed by Oliver and Thomas who had done a spectacularly fast trip from Walls Whare. The hut was full – but at least it was warm. A vicious card game of “Presidents and Scum” followed a pasta and beef dinner. Terry enjoyed the tent helpfully pitched by scouts – others slept on the floor and benches inside.
Sunday morning was the most glorious day and we set out with the sun down the Waiohine valley. We encountered tramper/ photographer Tony who helpfully did a portrait shot of our group – except Oliver and Thomas who had headed off to do the car shuttle from Holdsworth. After a pleasant morning tea spot near the river, we travelled on down the riverside track. Now you would think that riverside means steady downhill. It does not. On the Waiohine it means up down, in and out of gullys, hand over hand up steep banks, and endless encounters with the Tararua mud. Everyone soldiered on and a sterling effort by Zoe, who was enjoying her first tramping trip, supported by Andrew.
About an hour out of the track end, we were met by Thomas and Oliver, still bursting with unused energy after their fast trip to Holdsworth. We all enjoyed the spectacular new swing bridge across the Waiohine river. The campground is quiet now that the road is closed by slips, and requires and additional 1km walk to the temporary car park. Still worth the walk in to experience the wonderful views of the river and gorge from the bridge.
We returned to Wellington after a car shuttle back to Holdsworth and completed our journey in the setting sun across the Tararuas. A perfect two days and a great sense of achievement for 7 scouts and venturers. Now on to plans for the next tramping trip, and we are thinking that a nice flat walk into the Orongorongos would be good for our beginner trampers, and any families who would like to join us – stand by for more details and let us know if you have tramping suggestions.
Our party: Venturers Gussy and Caitlin, Scouts Harriet, Zoe, Thomas, Lucas and Leaders/ Adult support Oliver, Denise, Terry and Andrew. Well done all.