Miss 14 and I have (fingers crossed) a girls trip to Mt Somers in April of this year – this trip has so far (thanks to Covid) been postponed at least twice – hence the reason our fingers (and toes) are crossed!

Just in case we somehow actually manage to make the third time a charm, we have been attempting to do at least a couple of walks each week in Riverhead Forest (which is our local) in preparation. Although, Miss 14 doesn’t need much preparation, it’s her Mum that will let the team down – even when I ran, I wasn’t much of a hill person – and I haven’t run in well forever ..

So although that’s well and good, walking whilst carrying your entire camp on your back is quite a different experience, so we thought it would be a good idea to do some kind of practice run, especially as Miss 14 is doing Duke of Ed this year which involves doing a couple of overnight tramps.

Piggots Hut in the Hunua Regional Park seemed the most logical option for us. It’s about the same distance and it involves walking uphill and although there was already a group booked in, there was just enough room for another two – it was fate.

We arrived at the Regional Park shortly before lunch. So, we decided to have some food at the Upper Mangatawhiri campground (where we were leaving the car for the night) before attempting to find the start of the track, which is probably COMPLETELY obvious to most people, but a sign or two wouldn’t have hurt!

We found the entrance to the dam, went through the cleaning station to protect the Kauris and then headed up what was to become (what I remember to be ) one giant winding hill.

OK that might have been a slight exaggeration, there were perhaps two or three downhill sections but those didn’t come till I was lamenting my decision to be there.

WHY would I have thought this would be fun??? Who does this in this heat???

Miss 14 on the other hand didn’t see what all the fuss was about LOLOLOLOL.

Just a tip for anyone who is reading this thinking “gosh I love doing things where I think I’ll die of a heart attack and/or heat stroke.” The last section to Piggots hut is actually downhill so if you are still walking up a hill, you aren’t close even if your GPS says you are. 😉

The campground itself is tiny and I knew from doing our booking that there were 7 people who were arriving the night before, so we were going to be the last in. We arrived to find a wee tent city (but no humans) so set up on the only flat piece of grass where we could get tent pegs in the ground and played card games in the sun to pass away the hours before dinner.

We’d had dinner and were back to playing cards before crawling into bed when our campground neighbours arrived.

We heard them well before we saw them as they were (quite literally) squealing with delight to be nearing the campground. Turns out they were 6 teenage girls with a guide doing some kind of field trip who had just finished a 9 hour trek – I’d be squealing too!

I wasn’t fussed with all the noise (as they were all ravenous by then and clanging about with pots and stuff). Miss 14 asked how I could fathom going to sleep with “all that” and I just replied “easily, I’m a Mum – when you have a baby, you’ll learn to sleep anywhere too .. “

The teens (and guide) headed out early the next morning and Issy and I had the campground all to ourselves – we had some food, listened to the Kokako & Kereru and packed up before heading back to the car.

Facts & things to remember for future trips –

It took me 1 hour 55 minutes to get to the campground from the car with three short stops – Miss 14 could easily have done it in under 1 hour 30 if she didn’t have to stop and walk around in circles whilst singing broadway tunes to amuse herself waiting for me to catch up.

It took me 1 hour 39 minutes to get back with one stop – usually I find downhills super hard, due to an old knee injury, but there were only two sections where I was super tentative due to the gradient. Once again Miss 14 could have done it in much less time – she had also opted to carry the tent for me.

We need to remember to tighten the toggles on our tent outer to keep it away from the inner – it was the first time we’d used this tent in “the field” so although we knew how to pitch it, it was one of those things that probably come with experience.

I need to pack some ear plugs for Miss 14.

Till next time

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