This was my first overnight adventure with just me and my son. We left mummy at home to help her recover from her recent concussion. As this was our first tramp, I was a little bit nervous if I’ll be able to carry everything which included overnight gear for 2 people, food, nappies, change of clothing, a child carrier, and so on, AND 11 kg baby on top of that. I was quite pleased to find out that yes, it’s not such a big deal for me. I guess that training in Port Hills has paid off and now I can carry about 30 kg for a decent chunk of the day.
The track to Woolshed Creek Hut was great. The biggest issue I had were sandflies which really bug Elliot and made me feel guilty each time I fond a bite on his body. “Why do you do this to him, Michal?” – rings in my head fairly frequently. But then I see my son playing with stones, in mud, touching trees and pointing and all sorts of bugs and saying “beeeee” to any type of insects and I’m incredibly proud and happy and I know that he likes this. It took us about 3 hours to reach the hut. About halfway through the track, we joined the 4WD road, it’s just easier, shorter, and has less elevation difference than the actual track.
Once at the hut, Elliot had a decent play in the creek. Of course, it didn’t take long and he ended up crossing the cold creek in bare feet and falling into it in his clothes. Well no problem, I have a lot of spare clothing in my pack… When it was time for his nap, I put him in my front pack where he’s used to having naps. In the afternoon, more trampers and kids were arriving and Elliot had a lot of fun with the older kids. He was the youngest by far. The kids were playing hide & seek – I don’t think that Elliot got the rules but he seemed to be happy regardless.
When it was nighttime, I changed him into his pyjamas, put him on a couple of sleeping mats with a sheet and read his favourite book. Yes, I dragged over there 2 books that he likes us to read him before his nighttime. It’s really important to keep his routine so he feels safe and knows what’s expected. To my surprise, after finishing the books, he laid down on the prepared mats and fell asleep! The night was great until around 4 AM when a very strong southerly hit the camp. 2 other tents got blown away (both had broken poles), only my Jurek tent managed to hold which was good news. The bad news was that my little man was so afraid from 4 AM until the light came out that he was holding on to me like it was the end of the world. I have to admit that tent walls were rattling hard and leaning so much that it would scare even an experienced tramper. Elliot slept on my chest until 6 AM when I decided to dress him up and take him out to check the sunrise which was stunning.
I packed up which I found difficult with a kiddo on my chest. We had breakfast at the hut. The advantage of Elliot not sleeping very well was that by 8 AM he was pretty tired so I put him into a front pack and fast-packed back to the car in just over an hour. There he played in the river for a bit but the number of sandflies was insane so we soon took off to Rakaia for a pie and to have some fun at a local playground.
It was a great and quite intense experience. I loved it and I can’t wait to do it again. I’ve planned another adventure for the weekend after actually 🙂
Rough stats: Day 1 – 6 km, 2:40 h, 400m up. Day 2 – 6 km, 1:40 h, 100 m up.
Tramped on 16-16th April 2022.
Max elevation: 906 m
Min elevation: 536 m
Max elevation: 910 m
Min elevation: 537 m