Have not had a good time in the Ureweras.
Went to do the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk and it did not go well. The first day was fine – a strenuous walk up to Panekire Bluff, a bit hairy in places, scrambling and trying not to look down (am not particularly wonderful with heights) and the track was not in great condition, but got to Panekire Hut okay. There are supposedly stunning views from there but the weather had closed in and could hardly see a thing. Oh well, it was a nice hut and there were some friendly trampers inside so it was all good. Views had cleared by morning and it was indeed stunning, as this photo looking up to the Panekire Bluff shows.
Coming down from the bluff wasn’t so wonderful. The track was muddy and slick, but I successfully picked my way down most of it before slipping. Which wouldn’t be so bad if I hadn’t slipped towards the edge of the track – I can still feel the sensation of it giving way beneath me and down I go, arse over tip, tumbling down the steep muddy bank until I smash into a tree and break my arm. I very clearly remember my thought processes during the fall: they went something like shit shit shit shit shit ow!
Have never had a broken bone before but there’s really no mistaking it. I had my new personal locator beacon on me, and briefly considered using it, but there was no bone poking out or anything so it didn’t feel emergency enough. Hauled myself (and pack) one-handed up slippery bank, and that was a job let me tell you. Luckily, ten minutes later, coming in the other direction, wander a pair of Swedish tourists, who happen to be a doctor and a nurse. They kindly strap up my arm and give me some really good painkillers, and off I trot to Waiopaoa Hut, hoping to find a ranger and a quick exit to hospital.
There’s no ranger, no radio, and no mobile coverage at the hut. There is, however, a helpful poster saying that if the hut catches on fire, please call emergency services. On what? Tin cans and string? (There weren’t any of those either.) There was however a ranger hut further around the lake, so I take a chance and make for that. Don’t get there before dark, so camp out overnight under stars. Cold and uncomfortable, arm not so bad as long as I don’t try to use it. Get to the ranger hut early next morning and of course it’s locked up and no-one there. Not impressed. Flag down a couple of boaties and they very kindly scoot me across the lake so I can get a shuttle into town and hospital. Arm is confirmed broken, hand swelled up like a balloon.
Now have a bright green cast. Didn’t finish the tramp. Seriously considering giving tramping up. Two accidents in a row! Will try again later. Maybe.