On 2 April, a party of twelve from the Heretaunga Tramping Club left Hastings to tramp to the Waikamaka Hut in the Ruahine Forest. The expedition was to mark the anniversary of club member, Graeme Hare’s, first ever tramp to the hut – 60 years ago in 1956!
Graeme said, “We left early as we realised that it might take a little longer to walk the distance than it would have taken back in 1956!” However, as the group walked towards the saddle in overcast conditions and the gradient got steeper, it was clear that the physical effort was taking its toll on some members of the group.
“We are well experienced in tramping through the area, but after a while one of our party, began experiencing severe leg pains” said Graeme, “I was very grateful that another of our party is a Doctor, who was able to make a medical assessment and advise that we seek further medical help”
With mobile telephone signal 200 metres from the saddle, the group called 111, and the Rescue Helicopter was deployed to the scene. On arrival, the crew decided that winching was the safest option for the rescue, and they were also able to take another of the party who was physically exhausted and was unable to continue. Both were transferred to hospital for further treatment, while the 10 remaining trampers continued to the hut.
Graeme said, “It’s true we aren’t as young as we once were, but this wasn’t the way we expected our 60th anniversary tramp to go!”
He added, “It’s amazing to think when I first did this tramp in 1959, that mobile phones and Helicopter Rescue were not an option. Had something happened back then, we would have been completely on our own. As a club, we have always been supporters of the Hawke’s Bay Rescue Helicopter and we were so glad they were there to help us when we needed them”