3rd – 4th February
By Zoë Marshall-Means
What a start to the year. I decided to ditch my mates at Electric Ave at midnight the night before (dick move, I know), in order to go on Freshers. I messaged Hovey at 2am, informing him that I was coming, packed by 3, got Max to share his food with me so I didn’t need to sort any, and was at the carpark bright and early.
My original goal was a good tramp. However, 5 days before I had been hit by a car while cycling and broke my elbow. And the day before Freshers, I had taken it upon myself to remove the cast with a bread knife and some kitchen scissors (Max had hidden the tin snips). So, with my arm in a sling, I thought I’d chill on the easy tramp and watch Max and Shaun try and get two kegs up the hill.
About 20 minutes into the walk I found myself with one end of a stick. The other being in the capable hands of my keg-buddy Harry. I unwillingly ended up carrying a keg into the hut, so much for an easy tramp.
The kegs were nice, Tramping Club knows what to do with their budget. One was full of pilsner. We decided to drink as much of that as possible before the medium and hard groups arrived. Also staying at the hut was a lovely family, and honestly, the most chill hut warden I’ve ever met. My god she saw some shit that night.
Max and I started off with a wine and cheese evening (red goon and a block of Edam), followed by my famous “mulled goon” (instant coffee dissolved into red goon), and then we settled in to finish this keg.
It was a good vibe at the hut. There were two little girls named Charlotte (one good, and one evil), and they had the most chill mothers I’ve ever seen. These girls (aged 7 and 11 I think…?) soon mastered the art of pumping a keg… into the mouths of Freshers. Even going as far as instructing the freshest of Freshers on how to use a keg pump. Quality stuff.
I may have listened to Evil Charlotte’s insistence that I “drink more so I get drunk” a little too much. And in a rain-soaked tent, I found the rest of Shaun’s not-maker’s-mark.
Shaun is a great guy. Amongst his better traits (rapping, keg-carrying), he also makes VERY nice whisky. Very nice indeed. I took this, Max took what was left of a keg, along with Shaun we brought the Freshers still on their feet up the hill with the big speaker.
This is where my memory of the night ends. I’ve been informed that clothes were removed, dancing circles were had, kegs and whisky were downed, and I have just one patchy memory of Shaun wrangling Max and I back down the hill to our tent, with Max yelling about how we needed to check topo maps, in order to make it the 200 meters back safely.
The next day, I implemented my preventative hangover strategy. Just don’t sober up. It worked remarkably well, and spirits were high. Max, Hovey and I were the last to leave camp, and decided to take a swim on our way down. This resulted in some of the most aesthetic nudes I’ve ever had taken of me, and some not-so-deep water soloing on the rocks.
So anyway, we wander on, soon catching up with the stragglers. They were new to tramping and not making the best time. They also had such things as a full fucking bottle of Sprite in their pack. I ended up taking this ungodly pack, and Hovey had his pack, and mine stacked on top as we had by far the lightest packs. This thing was heavy, and the waist strap felt like it was half-way down my legs. Times were tough, and we were still moving faster than these guys, so we thought we’d pop over to the 4WD track we could see and use it as a shortcut. This did not go well. Topo maps lied to us. The track just…. ended. So anyway, it was chill, we had a potential bush bash option that we then decided was inappropriate for our group, thus causing us to ascend and descend at an unholy crawl in the hot, hot sun. It was at this point that we met a lovely Scottish woman, whose name I can’t remember. She and her dog had gone for a walk and were lost, so decided to stick with us until we could find a way out, and once we were at a fence line and near the end Max, the nice lady, and I decided that, as we weren’t committee, and thus, had no duty, we could ditch Hovey with the Freshers and fuck off. And fuck off we did, down the hill and out.