The rogaines in the Hutt, which is where this is, start at 6.30, so it was quite a rush getting out there, paying during the final stages of the briefing, bagging the maps as they said 30 seconds to go, then sprinting off with the crowd while trying to plan a route for the next few hours! We didn't even know how to cross the river but luckily there were plenty of people to follow. Going under SH2 via the culvert at CP 21 we decided to head straight up the hill via 53 and 42 to 91. I had decided that to complete a good loop around the track linking up 75-76 we needed to get straight out there. A good decision for enjoyment I think but possibly not the most lucrative decision points wise.
Being a little flustered and suddenly alone, the rest of the field without exception (?) and probably wisely choosing to visit 81 and 71 we wasted lots of time searching early for 53 "off dip in track". I knew that we should probably wait for the dip in the track but I we just couldn't make ourselves it seemed so far! The tracks were classic tramping tracks, or even taped possum trapper routes, so it was quite slow going.
We decided to get 54, which involved getting the compass out and heading west from the track bend and 74, dropping down soft needly slopes into a creek. But 82 gave us some grief as we overshot the first junction then struggled to find the control which was just sitting there between us in the middle of the forest. Great practice in hunting for TWALK this weekend! We overshot the junction by 103, but grabbed the four CP's here relatively quickly and headed off for 85 where Penny was onto it enough to stop me going too far again.
A steep gnarly descent in the dark with dull lights to 104 then our first adventure of the evening downstream to 75. Complete with bush bashing, wading through the creek and a series of little pools to skirt. The glow worms down here were amazing even in the rush and the track up the hill to 94 was full of them too. 94 itself was quite hard to find. A very small track deposited us on aforested spur, and it was only Penny noticing that the ridgetop track is broken by a light dotted line (so is broken and confusing on the ground) just north of the control that enabled us to find it in the end.
From here we were really pushing time. 34 was skipped, as was 35, but 76 and 93 seemed worth it. Then came our second great adventure for the evening, bush bashing between the tracks between 93 and 63....ugly...Penny was convinced I chose the wrong way through low scrub and fallen trees, in reflection she may have been right...but who was to know! It ate up time a little but we eventually emerged on the track and promptly failed to find 63. Our plan had been to take a lucrative route back through 83, 102, 62 and 92 but this had been getting less and less likely for the last hour or so and was now completely out of the question. So it was down the nice open spur to 24, then down the track beside SH2 to another culvert at 23.
We were late now. I had to inform Penny that it wasn't polite to verbalise the points we were losing every minute as we were running along. Especially when she wouldn't let me tow her, claiming that her legs couldn't go around fast enough. Marital bliss! But we got there back to the organisers sheltering under the motorway off ramp, (did I mention it was wet and miserable :-))and the pizza. Great event. Interesting navigational and route choice challenges. It would have been fun to do it for six hours.