Saturday, December 13, 2008

CACTUS Challenge Dickie Spur

The CACTUS 5 + Instructor - Spurred themselves up to Dickie Spur Hut on the 9-12th Dec.
Sadly, Tim was crook so we had to leave him behind as we didn't want him to puke in the Tuke. We departed at 8:00 pm form Hoki and were on the trail from the Totara Valley Rd end not long after 9:00pm. We crossed the Mikonui and forded the Tuke at the confluence surprising a group of 4 hunters at Mikonui Flat Hut just on dark. After their minds had whirred a while trying to calculate how we were going to fit 10 people on 6 bunks, we assured them we were just passing through and struck out into the night for the lower Tuke.
After crossing the low saddle from the hut we crossed the Tuke at the top of the gorge via the swing bridge over the inky chasm and reached a good camp spot at 11:00 pm. Hoochies up boys! Plastic bag for a ground sheet and that's it. Not a sound as midnight came around.
6:00 am wake up call, breakfast on the river bank. The instructor has gone soft so we escaped the early morning plunge into the river and hit the road for the Truran Saddle at 500m elevation, then the steep ascent from there to Dickie spur Hut cresting the ridge at about 1200m. This an average incline of just under 45 degrees.
We reached the hut by 11:30 am and had a rest up for lunch. Somewhere we realised that Zak had left a member of our party behind at the camp site - CACTI, our friendly green mascot.
The afternoon was spent in good company with lots of card games, too many jokes, survival bag idiocy and general relaxation. Daniel really needed his own hut but we were too compassionate to exile him to the smaller one 20m away. The weather was fairly claggy turning to a light drizzle in the later afternoon.
An early night and and early morning and we were leaving the hut at 6:07 to retrace our steps to Mikonui Flat, reaching the hut about 10:30. On the way Matt employed his SAR training to successfully locate and rescue CACTI the bush monkey.
Matt and Jeremy headed out from here. The rest of the party debated ascending to Healey Creek Hut but it was decided that as we had had a good run and it was a cloudy around the tops with intermittent showers we would settle for finding the start of the track for future reference, have a big feed to lighten the load, and follow the boys out a bit later. The boys later concluded that there were some limitations to how many different things you could throw in a pot and still be able to eat it. Zak needs to work on his caramel making skills.
All in all a great finish to the year, a good work out and heaps of fun.

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