9 – 11th July
By Zoë Marshall-Means
A group of nine is ambitious. And I’m hard to deal with. We drove to St Arnaud and boosted up to Bushline hut in the dark for an absolute feast. We happened to have a professional baker with us, and Harry fed us not one, but two banoffee pies that night, and then we had a massive spoon train. A good night.
The actual tramp started with a big long walk down a road because we didn’t have a vehicle capable of fording a river, then a chill walk into Kings Creek hut in the afternoon.
Day 3, I was kinda grumpy, Max and Shaun were leaving early to do a longer day than the 7 hours along a track next to a river the group had planned. I caught them at Stone hut, and it dawned on them that we’d be getting back Sunday night, late, with uni starting on Monday, the same Monday they both had an assignment due, and me having done a spur-of-the-moment degree-change the morning we left for the tramp, we agreed cutting out the boring day would be worth it. So, after 45 minutes of changing our mind, we left a note in the hut book for the others and went up the track to Mt Luna.
Mt Luna doesn’t look that steep on a map, but we were too lazy to walk around to the gentle ridge, so instead went for the most direct route-straight up. Popping up on the top of Mt Luna in the sunshine was pretty great, walking down super steep slippery shit wasn’t… We then traversed an only slightly sketch face, then gained the ridge and wandered down to Kiwi Saddle Hut.
We decided to drown our guilt at ditching the others with Max’s moonshine… and his whisky… needless to say, the next day’s walk all the way to the summit of Mt Patriarch, feeling like I was gonna vomit, carrying an extra few kilos of dust, was more of a grind than it should’ve been. But if there’s one way to get over a hangover, it’s to climb a big, freezing cold mountain, then take off all your clothes on the summit, and fuck around with the self-timer until you achieve the perfect mountain-top nudes. Now the wanting-to-not-exist feeling from the cold, outweighed the wanting- to-not-exist feeling from the whisky, and the remaining walk along the ridge line in the sunshine was really quite enjoyable.
We got John Reid hut toasty-warm for our final night, tried to eat as much of the surplus food as we could, then had a great sleep, before the slowest descent on track of a hill possible (I got distracted by the pretty birds, okay?), a walk back along the road and we were out.
The drive back consisted of Shaun rapping Eminem non stop for well over three hours, eating lots of liquorice and fish and chips, car massages, and a fat nap to top it all off, and we got back to Christchurch in time for one of the best parties I’ve been to in a long time. Oh, and to do uni stuff, of course…
All in all, sorry we ditched you guys, but it was probably for your own good, I was a grumpy piece of shit that third day, and I removed, arguably, the stinkiest guys on the trip.