Dobsons – Tauherenikau (E/M)
Sunday 2 July 2006
Our party of nine, comprising of seven TTC members and two non- members left Wellington Railway Station at 9am and made our way to Kaitoke. There had been reports of vehicles being interfered with in the car park at the end of Merchant Road so we parked at Kiwi Ranch Youth Camp instead.
We geared up and started on our way just before 10am, crossing a small bridge then climbing a number of steps and eventually intercepting the Puffer Track, which we followed until we reached the Alpha Hut turn-off.
Planning a clockwise Dobsons Loop tramp we headed up the Merchant Track and stopped briefly at Brown’s Track, alongside a trio of botanists who had also stopped for a cuppa. Suitably regenerated we continued climbing upwards. The track became boggy in parts and led into areas of dense bush.
Time passed and after rising and descending and rising once more we fi nally arrived at Dobsons Shelter just before 12pm. Here we had a late morning tea and helped celebrate Bob’s birthday with slices of fruitcake.
We made a decision to take the Merchant Stream track instead of descending the Puffer. This was going to add about 20 minutes to the tramp but it seemed a safer and less slippery alternative than risking a steep descent on such a slippery track.
Unfortunately about five minutes along the track, Marris fell and cut his right shin. The wound was quite deep and left him unable to walk. After tending to his injury we aided him to a burnt spur, while Lindsay cell- phoned for assistance. We placed packs behind for him to rest his back against, then made a footstool from tree derbies to keep his leg elevated.
The Westpac Helicopter arrived about 40 minutes later and though the burnt spur was spacious it was not suitable for landing so a paramedic abseiled to the ground. Marris’s pack was lifted fi rst after which a harness was placed around him and he was airlifted with the paramedic and taken to Wellington Hospital where he received five stitches.
It was nearing 2pm by now and we still had a long way to go. Even if we had opted for the original Puffer descent it seemed doubtful we would make it back before dark so we decided to return the way we had come. Misfortune struck again. Christine fell on her outstretched hand causing what is known as a Colles Fracture. A temporary sling was made for her from a scarf. John, Lindsay and I went back to Kiwi Ranch while the others accompanied Christine to the Merchant Road top car park where John picked them up and took them back to the Ranch. We paid a small fee for the privilege of parking our vehicles at the campgrounds then made our way back to Wellington.
A compilation of photos taken of the airlift by Christine Leighs and Leslie Blackwell may be viewed on the following webpage: http://mynamelez.com/graphical/image_index.html
- Leslie Blackwell (leader/scribe), Emma Reid, John McIvor, Ray Markham, Lindsay Cameron, Christine Leighs, Geraldine Keith, Marris Weight, Bob Cyffer.