As I alluded to in my Humpridge Track post, Dan and I worked an event called Stump the Hump where participants run the entire 60km track in one swoop as opposed to the typical three days. In exchange for our medical expertise, the good people of the Humpridge Track put us up on the trail earlier in the week. 24 hours after we got off the trail, we caught our HELICOPTER to be flown back up to the top of the ridge. Little did we know, we were in for a pretty miserable magical experience...
It started fine. this was the chopper we took up, and our belongings are in the big white bag that gets towed up there in this video:
The Ride up. It's surprisingly peaceful up there.
However, the peace ended shortly after landing. The lady that was the primary coordinator of our station at the lodge was a total tyrant. I've never seen anyone alienate her crew faster than anyone I've ever seen. No kidding. I was one reprimand from her away from breaking her down in front of everyone. We were officially there as the medical crew, but right when we got there, she goes "so are you going to help us our just do your DOCTOR thing?" and not in a nice way. So we help get everything set up, which was total chaos because everyone was trying to politely follow her orders, but she got power crazy and just kept changing her mind about what she wanted so people had to just repeat tasks at her whim.
One of the ladies above was a total B!tch. I'll let you guess which one it was.
So fast forward a few hours, and it's bed time. After 4 quick hours of sleep, we have to get up at 2AM to start the porridge as the earliest runners were anticipated to arrive at our station by 3:30AM (3 hours faster than Dan and I made it to that spot on our hike). As I was scrubbing dishes that morning, that 'lady' came up and hollered at me for not stirring a giant pot of porridge next to me... I just held my hands covered in suds up in front of her face and didn't say a word.
As the runners came rolling in, Dan and I became the official WaterBoys of Stump the Hump 2014, Okaka Hut Station. This included both boiling water for hot drinks and cold water for their packs as the refilled on their way out. I really don't mind helping out, but at one point, I was doing one of maybe 8 actual medical consultations in the middle of the kitchen, and that crazy lady actually yelled at me across the kitchen and said "Cole! Your kettle is boiling" I tried to ignore her, but she persisted, so I had to try to politely put my patient on hold so I could wheel around to confront this she-beast and inform her that boiling is, in fact, the goal when you are trying to boil water for hot drinks.
Our final run-in was at the end of the event when I was mopping the lodge floor (once again, not in my job description) with another volunteer. She had just been in and told us to mop the floor, so we started it, and - not making this up - she comes immediately back in as says "I think it's really rude you are mopping the floor in front of our last few hikers." We were stunned. If the other volunteers hadn't been as chill as they were, I think there would have been mutiny. I couldn't take it.
So as the excitement wound down, we started to look forward to our helicopter ride down the mountain and getting out of that crazy place with a couple of injured hikers I detained along the way. Unfortunately, this set in over the course of the morning:
Coupled with some major lack of organization on the part of the event organizers (I'm pretty sure they forgot us for the first several hours of waiting and only started making plans of getting us out after I called and 'reminded them'), this cloud bank became the thorn in our sides for the entire day. We honestly sat and waited for about 7 hours. We could hear them zipping around down there all over, picking up other hikers that got held up on the trail, but the 'just couldn't make it through the cloud bank'.... I'll never believe them. So at about 5PM, we were told that the helicopter pilot had gone home for the night. We were stranded at the lodge... So since we had to pick up some people at the airport the next day, we decided it was time to start running down the mountain - it should only take about 6 hours to get back to the car.....
We start running down the trail - actually running - and after 30 minute of solid downhill, what do we see, but the helicopter zooming over us to go pick up the hikers at the lodge we just left....... imagine my excitement... OUTRAGE!!!!!!
Dan and I were over trying to make sense of anything, but this random French girl that was walking out with us felt the need to spend 30 minutes with poor phone reception to see if we are supposed to go back up in case the chopper was going to make a second trip (they would have had to make two for all the people at the lodge initially, but not since we left!). The answer is, shockingly, a 'NO', so we keep heading down. Their consolation was that when we got all the way down to the coast, plus an hour, there were some people staying in a hut along the trail that could feed us and maybe give us a ride along the coast for a portion of the way back.
So we get to this Promised Land, where the people are settled in to party for the night, and they end up being pretty awesome for us. They cooked us steaks, served us drinks, fried up some wild boar bacon, then we hop on the 4-wheeler for the wildest beach ATV ride you've ever witnessed. I was thrown off twice, and I liked it.
You can't tell, but we are all on the 4-wheeler, flying down the beach at high speed during this picture.
Sandy was our chauffeur, and he was amazing.
We will never know how he got a busted lip or the black eye...
And all is well that ends well. This is our final approach back to the parking lot after our fateful run-in with Stump the Hump 2014. The Magic. The Misery. The Memories.