Ruapehu Week, March 6-12 2009
With Nolene Blair, Vic Bullock, Manfred Hausler, John Marshall, Jeanne Van Den Hout and Ken Ross
Only a small group made the annual trip to the ATC lodge on Ruapehu. We were hoping for a week of summer tramping up the mountain, but the weather gods weren’t kind. It started raining shortly after we arrived and it didn’t clear until we were leaving. Nevertheless, we had a great week. Oh, I forgot to mention the wind and the snow. Yes, we made good use of our wet-weather gear by day, and the drying room by night.
Each day, we drove down the mountain to get below the cloud base. We did all the local tramps, trying to avoid the worst of the weather. We really enjoyed the bush tracks for their beauty and their shelter, but we were exposed to the elements for much of the time. Still, we managed full (or nearly full) tramping on all days. Mission accomplished. It would have been nice to have more expansive views along the way, though.
Only after our evening meals did we really feel sorry for those who weren’t on the mountain with us. Thanks to group skills, dinners were a delight, and there was always too much. The subsequent relaxation in the cosy lodge was divine. Two nights were particularly interesting, with snow falling below the level of the lodge – not enough to build a snowman, but enough to look pretty. It was a great opportunity to experiment with cameras, and made up for the lack of sunsets.
So, despite the weather, we had a great week. While waiting for the black ice to thaw so we could drive off the mountain, the talk was of doing it again next year (when it will be fine and sunny, and warm and calm, and…)