The weekend started with lots of sleepy looking sleepy looking trampers waiting in a cold UCSA parking lot wondering where the trip leader was. Well, I was halfway across Ilam fields working up quite a sweat trying to carry 40 L of goon in two slippery plastic bags, cursing at myself that I had not left home a little earlier. You see, I did not factor in that I would have to run back and forward ‘leapfrogging’ the bags all the way across the field. Eventually I reached the car park looking like I had just walked up a very long, steep hill. After a bit of a breather, a check to make sure no one was dressed for a holiday in Fiji, and distribution of the goon, we were in the vans and on the road. The drive was long but Arthur’s pass was scenic as always.
A few hours later we arrived at the mouth of the fox river on the west coast. We had a relaxed lunch as we had made pretty good time driving over. Soon enough we had our packs on and were heading up the river. There were a few river crossings which went fine. Well, except for a short pursuit of someone’s jandal that had decided to part ways with its owner halfway across the river. It was about a 2 hour walk up to the ballroom overhang, so we got there with plenty of daylight left. We set up our tents, got a fire going and cracked open the 40L of goon we had lugged up the hill.
As night came, we laughed, danced and toasted marshmallows around the fire. The acoustics under the domed roof of the overhang are amazing by the way. A great night was had by all. It followed by a very slow and hung over morning. It took until ten o’clock until there was any sign of life from some tents. We slowly walked back down the trail, packs considerably lighter, now not containing as much liquid. The walk back was gorgeous, the sides of the valley were some huge, moss-covered cliffs. We followed the Fox river out to the shore, where we go into the vans and headed home, many of us catching up on sleep from the night before. I look forward to next year.