DISCLAIMER: This TROG is in no way sponsored by Radix Nutrition – not bad for a freeze-dried meal. Also, probably the best meal we’ve enjoyed on an iceberg…
Water from Camp Creek filled my boots and soaked my socks, as I stepped tentatively into the brisk flow of the river. It climbed higher up my legs, reaching my calves, my thighs, my shorts, and then the bottom of my pack. I felt the tug of the current beckon me downriver, but I wasn’t too keen on the refreshing Spring dip it was advertising. The water exhilarated my muscles and instilled an irreplaceable feeling of freedom and adrenalin. I was tramping again! After a series of excuses and weekends with too many organised halls of residence events, I was amid my inaugural CUTC tramping adventure, alongside Luke, Max, Shaun, Pernille, and Georgia.
Following a steady ascent along the forested track, traversing several times across the creek, I soaked up the chance to breathe in the fresh outdoors. Escaping the weight of assignments and impending exam study, tramping re-inspired me and lifted my spirits. From a tunnel of bush, passing a moss-covered mailbox, we emerged into a small clearing where our accommodation for the next 24 hours sat. A charming, wee hut decked out with triple bunk beds, a conservatory, and, by far the coolest hut addition I’ve stumbled across – an outdoor, fire-heated bath!
With the day still stretching out ahead of us, we dumped most of our belongings and headed further up the mountain to explore. We followed a steep track along a thin ridgeline, climbing roughly 700 m , popping out of the bush-line to look back on the way we’d come. The ridge we’d travelled wound its way down the valley like the spine of a mountain giant, clad in a kaleidoscope of green, purple, and orange vegetation. Lake Brunner peeked out from behind Mt Te Kinga, and we watched as rain fell in patches over the farmland below. As we climbed higher, gigantic schist boulders were strewn along the top, standing like sentinels, guarding the track to the summit. Exploring the top, we were joined by a pair of kea and a fresh sprinkling of snow. On our way back down to the hut, we all got to know each other better, chatting about travel experiences, home-brew alcohol, and Russian birthday parties.
Unpacked in the hut for the night, we set straight to work stoking the fire to heat up the bathtub. Meanwhile, we were in for another treat – Radix Freeze-Dri Dinner. We all concluded that they were definitely “not bad for freeze-dri”. Even had the vegan tick of approval for their Sweetcorn Chowder. With the Radix photo-shoot done, and Luke’s dessert goodies demolished, we managed to fit 4 and ¾ trampers in the bathtub. It was a squish, but well worth it according to those with more than a leg submerged in the luke-hot water, until it was luke-cold. While the fire stopped and started, and the bathwater got dirtier, we were treated to some of Max’s Mongolian Throat Singing, stargazing, and some banter about possums that were the size of a “particularly large human”. There must have been something in the water or the smoke, or maybe it was the full moon, but there was a lot of nonsense shared that night. Or perhaps, it was the outdoors, and the fulfilment that comes from a day of tramping that loaded us with bliss.
After a good night’s sleep, we retraced our steps up the mountain, planning to eat our Radix breakfasts next to the tarns we’d scouted out the day before. The “10 minute walk” from the rocks to the tarns took a lot longer, as we navigated the sharp rock formations and dodgy snowfields. The best part was sliding down the snowy slope on my rain-jacket. We got the billy boiling next to the first tarn, and our brave Radix ambassadors – Max, Shaun, Luke, and Georgia – prepared themselves for their next advertising campaign… Radix Nutrition – ‘The Best Meal We’ve Had on An Iceberg’. A brief, chilly dip in the tarn was very entertaining to watch from behind the camera, wrapped up in my warm clothes. I’m sure that the others can confirm that it was worth it – I mean look at those promotional Radix photos!
We explored some of the other tarns and surrounding peaks, eating lunch over-looking the valley and the Waimak.
Our long day of exploring pushed our return to the car until 7pm, resulting in a sleepy drive back to Christchurch. This initiated our elusive hunt for something to satisfy our fried food cravings. We tried the pubs in Jackson, Darfield, Kirwee, AND West Melton, but all were closed, closing, or non-existent. Giving up, we rocked up at the UCSA carpark around 10.30pm, where some of the group finished the night with chips in the trusted Foundry. All in all, this trip was an epic adventure and made me super pumped to head back out with CUTC as soon as possible. It would be awesome to venture more around the Kaimata range and Mt Alexander in the future.
P.S Shaun learnt that baths with 5 other trampers and open wounds are not a good combination – no further explanation is needed.