‘Cozy’ night in car for stuck trampers
Three Titahi Bay trampers and their dog added an extra night to their trip in Rimutaka Forest Park after a torrent of water blocked their path.
Denise Clements and her daughters Micah, 13, and Pippa Wratt, 8, slept in their car after finding the ford near the Catchpool Valley carpark too high to cross on July 13.
The trio spent a cramped night in their Mazda Demio with their dog, Yoko, sleeping in the boot.
Clements, an experienced tramper, said they were happy and safe in the car with warm clothing, sleeping bags, and peanut butter and wraps to eat.
‘‘We just look at it like another adventure.’’
The trio were leaving Rimutaka Forest Park after a two-night stay at Haurangi Hut with five friends and were due out around 3pm on Thursday afternoon.
They set out under good conditions on Tuesday and were unperturbed by the weather forecast for later in the week.
Clements had let her husband know they might have to stay an extra night before they left.
When the group found they could not cross the ford in their cars, they hunkered down and were joined by two more people stuck behind the ford.
The other stranded trampers got out in the evening when they walked around the ford and were picked up by two vehicles who offered them a lift.
Clements did not know her husband Shane Wratt was driving one of the vehicles and decided she and her kids would stay.
‘‘I didn’t think it was fair putting our wet dog in someone else’s car. I just thought, ‘We’ve got the dog, and we are warm and dry. We’ll work it out in the morning’.’’
Wratt said: ’’I went out last night to pick up my family and ended up with someone else’s family instead!’’
He was not worried by his family spending another night out.
‘‘Denise is really experienced and the kids do a lot of stuff in the outdoors.’’
After a rough night in the car with ‘‘some pretty patchy sleep’’, the ford was still flooded.
The family walked around the ford and reached the Catchpool Valley Education centre at 9am, where they lit the wood burner to keep warm.
They were picked up later in the morning after they used an emergency phone to call the DOC office, who contacted Wratt.
Micah Wratt, 13, Denise Clements and Pippa Wratt, 8, keep warm by the wood burner at the Catchpool education centre after spending a night in their car in Rimutaka Forest Park. Above, the flooded ford.