‘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.

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