Easter Trip - 1997

With a longing to get away from the daily grind, 14 VUCCers met at the gear shed on the Thursday before Easter. Everyone tried on their boats for size, and once all the cars were packed (about 10 hours later - or so it seemed!) we were off.

While everyone else stopped off at their pathetic fish 'n' chip shops, we (Mimi's van) stopped at a restaurant (ha ha!) and breaking with VUCC pauper tradition, spent the princely sum of $6.50 each.

The first night for most of us was spent at the Mangaweka camp ground on the banks of the Rangitiki River. Rohan, Andy and Oliver drove further up the Rangitiki, since Rohan and Andy planned to paddle the harder mid-Rangitiki section the next morning, with Oliver driving the shuttle. Mangaweka was a great spot, with a kitchen with electric hot plates and lights, and even men's and women's hot showers. Bliss!

On Friday we headed on up North to the get-in for the Access 10 section of the Tongariro river. There we met up with Dave, Tony and Steve from Kupe (that other Wellington canoe club). The experienced paddlers did this section and then met up with the rest of us a couple of hours later at the Pohtu Bridge get-in also on the Tongariro. By that time Rohan, Andy and Oliver had turned up, so we all paddled that next section. Friday night was spent at Reid's Farm camp ground just outside Taupo, where some got to bed early and others had a bit of a piss-up!

Saturday morning (in fact, every morning!) we were woken early by an eager Mark (Lynch) who seemed worried that we would miss out on a days kayaking if we didn't get going by 8:00am! Yeah, right!

When we did finally get going on Saturday (later than 8:00!) we drove to Anawhenua Falls on the lower Rangataiki River. We were told that the Falls were OK for beginners to paddle, which we found a little hard to believe, but we all gave it a go anyway. This was a major feat for most of us, and one that resulted in a few swimmers at the bottom. But that was OK! The rest of the section was great, mostly paddling in a scenic gorge with nice mixture of rapids - a great beginners section.

That night was spent at the camp ground next to Lake Anawhenua. We woke up on Sunday morning to find that the Easter bunny had been and left Easter eggs for us to find. Primo! The departure of John and Angela (and car) required a little reorganisation of transport, and once that was done we headed to the get-in for the mid-Rangataiki section where we again we met up with the Kupe guys. Once again the experienced paddlers started off higher up the river, on the Jeffs Joy section, after giving us instructions on doing the shuttle.

The Jeff's Joy section must be quite short, because they arrived at our get-in before we had finished the shuttle (though this was mostly because we had to carry the boats quite a way because the "road" was too bumpy for fully loaded cars). Once we were all together again we set off down the river. This section was easily the hardest thing we did on the trip, with lots of swims and other rescues to keep the instructors occupied!

We cooked dinner at the get-out, after which Rohan and Andy had to leave (they had to get back down to Wellington so that Andy could start work squeezing oranges at 4:00am the next morning (we later heard that they got back about 1:00am so they had plenty of time to spare!) The plan for the rest of us was to head for some hot pools, and then a camping spot at Turangi. Since we were already one car down, losing Rohans car meant we couldn't fit everyone in the two remaining, so Andre volunteered to miss the hot pools and get dropped off in Turangi by Rohan.

The hot pools were called the "Secret Spot" (at Waiotapu, but don't tell anyone I told you) and were nice and ... well ... hot! Mark embarrassingly brought his torch along, to the horror of the au natural hot-poolers! Ask Nick what a ``lufa'' is!

When we finally arrived at Turangi around mid-night, there was no sign of Andre at the camp ground, so we went to bed wondering how Rohan had managed to stuff up our easy instructions. It turned out that they had dropped him off in the next field, so he showed up the next morning (after spending the night wondering how he was going find us).

Monday was our last day, and we repeated the lower Tongariro sections of the first day, which now seemed much easier than they had three days ago, even though everyone was tired and there were various injuries.

Then we all went home...!

Rebecca (with some help from Luke, but none from Mark!)

Last update: Thu Aug 27 00:05:21 NZST 1998

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