Jill and Ray were our ‘Camp Mum and Dad’ for the weekend and somehow they kept all 17 trampers relatively organised. Having taken the van to the trailhead on Friday night and pitched our tents, on Saturday morning we walked along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and headed inland towards Lake Rere.
I enjoyed chatting with Tina, Raewyn, Alan and Lindsay as we hiked onwards, and when we could keep up with them, Kim and Jeremy kept the group entertained. As did ‘older’ Dillon and Rebecca when they worked out they had forgotten their hummus and cheese at the lunch stop.
Highlights along the way were: seeing the ranges reflected in Lake Rere, checking out the remains of a mammoth landslide and peering into a sculptured river canyon just below the hut. Depending on whom you talk to the Greenstone Valley was named either because it was a Greenstone trading route for early Maori, or because of the river’s iridescent green water.
The new 20-bunk Greenstone hut really is Gucci, with double glazed windows, ample bench and seating space and a very productive fire. Some of the group chose to pitch their tents since they had carried them in and the rest of us found a temporary home in one of the two bunkrooms.
The only disappointing thing about this hut was the ‘service with a snarl’ Hut Warden. I hope he was just having a bad day at the office; otherwise he could be the recipient of “DOC’s all time grumpiest Hut Warden” award.
If the hut was Gucci, dinner was gourmet. I was amazed at the meals that different groups managed to produce using a burner and some pots. My personal favourite, however, was Lucy’s homemade chutney that appeared during pre-dinner snacks.
We took the direct route out on Sunday, and people broke into smaller groups. Some taking the time to walk the riverbed and check out the Slip Flat bivvy. The drive home was rather uneventful; once again, we sang along to Ray’s 80’s rock anthems and for something a little different we had a special reading of everyone’s star signs.
Just another fabulous weekend out with the OTMC proving that good company in the backcountry is a far better proposition than staying in town. Thanks again to Ray and Jill for leading the trip and getting us there and back in one piece.