Trip Reports for 2018 from Tramper Magazine
Mangaturuturu Hut 60th Birthday
Sat–Sun 7-8 Apr 2018 Scribe: Dorothy Symes
What an awesome weekend celebrating a significant milestone for a club that continues to flourish and grow. The building of the Mangaturuturu hut was undertaken and opened six years after the WTC’s establishment on 5 April 1952.
Our weekend coincided with the Ring of Fire round-the-mountain run. Two options were offered: a day trip or the overnight stay. We had two full club vans, one private car and Ohakune member, Peter. Starting our trek from Turoa Skifield carpark to avoid the RoF event, Basil Hooper led our group of 28 on a side visit to Tom’s Garden. Many know of Tom’s Garden but not so many have been there, so that was a treat - thank you Basil.
We arrived at the hut at lunch time. Afterwards Margret acknowledged those who had the vision for the hut and saw it through to completion, remembering too, the conditions they lived and worked in. Photos were displayed and left in the hut for all to enjoy and appreciate. Then we enjoyed a celebratory toast and sweet treat.
Around 2 pm the 15 day trippers headed homeward over the cascades while 13 overnighters explored the nearby slopes. On their return it was tent-erecting time for two and happy hour for all. We were treated to special views of clear mountain tops, plus a bright orange sunset. The celebration dinner comprised cold cuts and salads with hot minted spuds. A big thank-you to the day trippers for helping carry in the feast! A lit-up birthday cake followed and the evening continued with stories and banter. Finally it was bed - not late – and up early to the dawning of a bright, sunny day. There was time for more exploration of the mountain slopes before a brew-up and lunch. Then we were off across the board walk and tussocks, across the cascades and up to the skifield carpark, later stopping for coffee at Ohakune. Thanks to the drivers and all who helped make this memorable event such a success.
Day trip to Mangaturuturu Hut 60th Birthday
Sat 7 Apr 2018 Scribe: Bruce Thomas
The weather looked good as we neared Raetihi except for a cloud over the top. The Ring of Fire round-the-mountain run was on, starting from the Chateau at 4am so, to avoid the runners we parked at the Turoa Skifield car park.
Starting from up there was a case of negotiating the rocks until a faint track appeared which made progress easier as we aimed for Tom’s Garden for a brief stop there. Carrying on at the same altitude provided stunning views, even more so than over the normal route to the hut via the cascades. We met up with the track well past the cascades; the runners had already been through and were gone.
We were soon at the hut and as the cloud had not lifted, the chill outside had us assemble indoors for lunch. During lunch President Margret spoke briefly on the beginnings of the hut, followed with a toast and some birthday cake. When the eating was done the overnighters decided to go on a further afternoon walk. The day trippers then began their walk out to the road - half to the Turoa carpark to retrieve the van and the other half out to the Wanganui corner where the sun was starting to appear. A wonderful day!!!
Araheke Cycleway - cum - Walkway and Beyond
Wed 4 Apr 2018 Scribe: Dorothy Symes
It was Sue Haden’s and my turn to lead one of our regular Wednesday walks. Fortunately Rozy Rawlinson phoned offering to take us out to South Beach, ending at the airport cafe. A pleasant day, no rain, as 24 of us were delivered to the Lake Wiritoa camp ground. Rozy gave an overview before starting the Araheke mountain bike trails and the interpretation board at the start showed all the circuits. It certainly wasn’t flat, with many ups and downs to remind us what a tramp was all about.
After lunch we made our way to the coast and walked among the grasses parallel to the surf. Eventually with the tide safe, it was down on to South Beach itself. We walked 11 km along the beach into what seemed a never-ending head wind. Eventually we came off the exposed beach back to the airport cafe to be refreshed. Total length of the walk was 19.8km. Thank you to Rozy who knew the route and kept us all together and informed along the way. A great day out!!!
Manawatu Gorge Trip
Mon 2 Apr 2018 Scribe: Dorothy Symes
It was a cloudy day as Dorothy (leader), Sandra Rogers, Margaret Chainey, Wendy O’Malley, Margaret Stratford, Linda Clark, Jiri Krivanek and Ann-Marie Harper set off to walk the ever popular gorge track. We took the Saddle Road to the Woodville end, then two of us drove to Ashhurst to meet the group and return with them.
The track was extremely busy with many families enjoying their Easter day out. The track is as pretty as ever, despite the lookout being closed. Still a jolly good walk. A number of our group had never been on this track before, making the trip even more worthwhile. And of course they made the short diversion to a close-up of the spectacular windmills.
Finally, there was no cafe - the bridge cafe is now closed. I remembered the Herb Farm Cafe just north of Ashhurst before Bunnythorpe (signposted right 2km down the road) - lovely coffee and ice creams etc. A special little place with short walkways with herb plantings and interpretation boards. No rain in the end and a lovely day out.
Tongariro Moonlight Crossing
Sun 1 Apr 2018 Scribe: Esther Williams
Derek, Pippa, Andy and Esther wanted to walk the Tongariro Crossing in summer, without crowds and with a full moon. The first of April fitted the criteria and work schedules. With driver Margret, we walked from the Mangatepopo car park to the crowded hut. The patio we had to ourselves. Sunset glowed and light faded as we dined. The DOC Ranger asked leading questions re our intent, experience and equipment. Satisfied, he reported on his role as he saw it: to gain knowledge of both Park history and environment. Soon walkers and driver parted at dusk, one to an emptying carpark, the others to low-lying mist up to the South Crater.
In the mildness, we wore short sleeved tops. At first, the moonlight suffused, drew together a concentration of light, then burst out as a ringed celestial body, the landscape bathed in surreal shades of light and shade. Beautiful. The Tongariro rim stood out whereas Ngauruhoe loomed over us. Derek captured the image. Our breathing created mist. The wind rose, cutting and cruel. Near the top of Red Crater, we passed the growing rocky cairn, a sign pointing directions. The cairn was smaller last year! Relief from the cold came from hot vents steaming at ankle level at the top. We squatted and warmed up. “I could go to sleep right here,” said Derek.
Two climbers without equipment behind us turned back. Sarah, a lone runner came and chatted, warning about more joggers in the same party, way behind. Without torches, we reluctantly left the bosom of the mountain and picked our way down to Emerald Lake, now a sheet of light. Crossing Middle Crater, we noticed human glow-worms descending the steep slope. The runners must have been about thirty minutes behind the first athlete. Cloud covered the moon, but the light was sufficient to see our surroundings without torches. A strong smell of sulphur reached us at Blue Lake, all the way from Te Maire fumaroles. Stiff gusts made us put on more clothing.
A short spell at Ketetahi Shelter to nibble and drink. We picked up three bags of day tripper rubbish. A possum lurked by the track. All the way in the tussock, we were able to continue without torches. In the mild temperate forest we were back to short sleeves. Half an hour before the car park we met Margret. By now it was two and our thoughts were of warm rest at Possum Lodge. Mission achieved!!
A rough guide to times:
3pm left Whanganui / 5.30pm Mangatepopo car park / 6pm Hut / 6.30pm left hut / 9 pm gained South Crater / 10.30pm Red Crater (rest) / midnight Ketetahi Shelter / 2am Ketetahi car park / 3am Possum Lodge. In future, suggest 1pm for leaving Whanganui.
23-29 Mar 2018 Scribe: Dorothy Symes
Where does one start when reporting on this adventure into what was to be Cobb Valley and Fenella Hut in the Kahurangi National Park? Leader Brian Doughty was ably supported by Brenda Collins who carefully executed the challenges getting us there. Brian is happy for me to report on the trip and just as well too, as none of us would be too certain of the tales he might tell.
We had six nights away. Getting started was thwarted by a storm three weeks prior, with more bad weather on day one, making that a very long day. Changes to flights necessitated an overnight stay in Wellington to catch a flight on Golden Bay Air in the early hours. Destination Nelson: the original plan was for Takaka on Sounds Air, calling for two flights. Sight flying - no instruments - not the go with doubtful weather and plans had to be changed. Our new destination was Brian Sixtus’s home where he had recently returned after leaving Wanganui. We sipped coffee while waiting for a shuttle over the storm-damaged Takaka Hill. The shuttle took us to the base of the Takaka Hill which had opened for trucks and commercial vehicles only two days before. Our wait was nearly an hour; still raining. The destruction and devastation to the hill was incredible. Finally we were up and overand dropped off in Takaka Valley below. We walked to Brian’s place and were treated to hot date scones and a cuppa.
Cobb Valley tramp was now cancelled, a bridge having been taken out in the recent storm. Despite all influences in his home territory, Brian was unable to get our party past, over or around so there we were at Brian’s, staying put. But we were in for new adventures every day, and what a week we had. Here goes –
Day 1): A day tramp up the Kill Devil Track, up one side of the valley on well- formed tracks in native bush, with magnificent views below.
Day2). Another day tramp to Warariki Beach where we were treated to the antics of baby seals in their rocky playground. Brian guided us off the beach and up to the Puponga Farm Tracks. With fantastic weather along the coast Golden Bay was a real sight, extending to the far reaches of Farewell Spit. Brian returned to the van he had arranged for the week and drove to the end and walked in to meet us.
Day 3). Harwoods Hole in the Caanan Downs reserve. A good hour’s walk to get there. I wasn’t one of smart ones getting too close to the edge, either, again a treat. Back out for lunch after which we set off from Caanan Downs to walk the Rameka Track. Again, Brian drove around to meet us.
Day 4). A trip to the Waikoropupu Springs. Beautiful bush and walkways for tourists who visit the pristine ‘clearest spring water in the world’. Our next walk was Pupu Hydro, built in 1929 and quite a feat in those days. Some time later it was closed down and abandoned until a community group decided it could be resurrected. Today the hydro dam, fully restored, supplies power to Takaka and the valley, with an annual profit of $100,000 for local community projects. The beautiful track through native bush follows and meanders through the waterways to great heights, with impressive views – a special experience.
Day 5). A day trip to Totaranui, the huge camp site on the coastal track of the Abel Tasman Great Walk. On return in the afternoon we took the hour’s walk into the Wainui Falls, a great sight.
What else did we do? Visited Brian’s ‘local’ in the country for tea one night, only open once a week. We met another group of WTC trippers and had dinner with them another night. Went fishing at Anatoki Salmon farm and caught nine salmon that were filleted and manuka-smoked for us to take home. Enjoyed a lunch on the village green, had a brief shopping day and watched the hippies assemble for their big Easter meeting, all supposedly sharing their love!
We certainly loved our trip. It was wonderfully hosted by Brian S and prepared for at short notice. He raided a hut for extra mattresses, organised a van that Bruce had suggested - fascinated by the one million kilometres it had done.
Brian, being a Takaka descendant, knew all there was to know and we thoroughly enjoyed the history and the tales he told. His passion for the Takaka region was evident. One of his tales featured a wealthy Croatian who settled on the hills, encroaching on the environment not only with an ugly castle but also his own power station. It is rumoured he purchased his way out of environmental compliances.
I conclude with a big thank you from all who enjoyed the experience: Brenda Collins, Brian Doughty, Bruce Thomas, Helen Chitty, Barbara Francis, Margee Campbell, Craig Lilburn and myself. I do think Brian enjoyed it all too, despite having his vege garden ‘plundered’. We only had one shower of rain on the first day, with Golden Bay Weather from then on. A very memorable trip, and thanks again Brian.
Sun 18 Mar - Wed 28 Mar 2018 Scribe: Judith Harrison
Eight ladies travelled to Takaka for 10 days. Weather was great, only one very wet day. Left money in the shops. So many tracks to do. One day we joined the local trampers for a morning walk, and while waiting for everyone to assemble a truck pulled up and out hopped Brian Sixtus. What a shock for him as he thought his crew were not coming for another couple of days. On our last night went out for a meal with them all. When asked where we had been, said ‘you have not touched the surface’.
Went on a bus out to Farewell Spit and had tea, coffee and a muffin.
My thanks to Pam, who did a lot of research, to Helen who took over as Pam was unable to go at the last minute (after 18 years), and to Jacky who did a marvellous job of driving. To the rest of you, many thanks for wonderful company. On the trip were Helen Atkinson, Jacky Evans, Jan Parvano, Kate Jones, Margaret Lankow, June Wills, Jennie Anton and of course myself.
Wed 14 Mar 2018 Scribe: Barry Hopper
Departed the clubrooms 7am, arriving at the Whakapapa Village car park at 8.45am to overcast skies and cool conditions which was what was forecast, no surprises there.
We headed off on the lower track to the Taranaki Falls at which, by the time we arrived here, there was a light drizzling rain so it was raincoats on and settle down for a morning tea at 10am.
Having missed Tama Lakes several times in the past few years I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the walking track and boardwalks and steps leading up to the Lower Tama Lake, where you have a quite amazing view of this collapsed volcano which has been filled by rain water and snow-melt over the centuries, but because of erosion on the western lip is slowly starting to fill in with soil, rocks and debris.
The drizzly rain had subsided by this time so after photo opps we headed on up the exposed ridge line in quite windy conditions to the Upper Tama Lake which is about 1300 metres in elevation.
Arriving here right on midday in now quite warm sunny conditions, we hunkered down on the leeward side of a ridge and had lunch and enjoyed the fabulous views of the lake and Mount Ngauruhoe which was now clearing from the misty clouds that had been around for most of the morning. Also having lunch with us were tourists from the USA and Australia, everyone just soaking up this amazing vista, surely there could be no better place or experience to be had on Earth at this time!!!!!!
After lunch we headed on down, doing a circumnavigation of the Lower Tama Lake, hooking up with the round the mountain track and heading back to Taranaki Falls where we had our afternoon tea. Yet more international tourists on the RMT and at the Falls.
After our tea break we headed on back to the Whakapapa Village via the upper track with even more international tourists along the route. Once again a very well formed track with great board walks and steps.
Back at the van, we headed to National Park Village for ice-creams and drinks and back to Wanganui, arriving just before 7pm, quite a long day.
Enjoying the fabulous day out were Bruce Thomas, Diane Harries, Esther Williams, Helen Atkinson, Kathy O’Donnell, Margaret Chainey, Pippa McLay, Royce Johnson and a newby to the club, Josh Youn from Kuala Lumpur.
My tramping buddy Graham Sutcliffe stood me up again, so this tramp was led, driven and scribed by Barry Hopper. That’s twice Graham, but who’s counting!!!!!!
Be careful New Zealand, although not as well known as the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, the Tama Lakes is developing an international following. We don’t want this tramp becoming another TAC and ruining our pristine outdoor landscapes.
7-16 Mar 2018 Scribe: Dave Scoullar
On trip: Cherry Channon, Tracey Hooper, Shane Wilson, Mark Sutherland and Dave Scoullar.
Describing a nine-day 100km trip could fill a lot of space so this report will be confined to an outline of our Nelson Lakes National Park saga. Plenty of sunshine apart from a hailstorm on the way to Angelus hut and a cold wind on the second day at that hut.
Day 1: Arrive at Coldwater hut via water taxi over Lake Rotoiti. The 12-bunk hut has 15 trampers overnight, so it's a tight fit.
Day 2: Wander up the beautiful Travers Valley track beside Travers River to John Tait hut in 6:45. Stunning views of peaks all around. A young Canadian fisherman joins us in hut.
Day 3: Shorter day to Upper Travers hut (3:30). The location at the head of the valley is fabulous. Meet a number of Te Araroa Trail walkers out tramping and in hut.
Day 4: A big day. Short climb to the Travers Saddle where we linger to take in the views including a resident falcon. Then the knee-jarring 1000m descent to West Sabine hut in 6:30.
Day 5: Dee Ess stays at the hut while the others go on a day trip to Blue Lake hut to look at the lake. A wandering warden comes by.
Day 6: Down the Sabine Valley -- another stunner -- to Sabine hut in 5:30. The three men celebrate with a swim in Lake Rotoroa.
Day 7: Biggest day -- 20km in 8hrs. Walk to Speargrass hut and then up Speargrass track to Angelus hut. Soggy arrival after getting caught in a hailstorm. See two chamois near hut.
Day 8: Mostly indoors on the Angelus rest day as there's a freezing westerly wind but there are clear views of the peaks and lakes. Wind howls around hut all night.
Day 9: Still windy for trek to the Mt Robert car park, reached in 5hrs. As usual the views are wonderful. Juliet Kojis picks us up and takes us to St Arnaud for much- deserved R and R.
Sat-Sun 3-4 Mar 2018 Scribe: Dave Scoullar
Seven WTC members combined with 10 from Hutt Valley TC and 3 DOC rangers on the Great Pinus Contorta Hunt 2018 in Tongariro National Park. Over the two days in which we covered 20km of landscape we killed a total of 330 trees. The weather was superb and we enjoyed a great dinner, including venison steaks, at our delightful camping spot in the beech trees.
Ranger Matt shared stories of the area from a Maori perspective and it was rather sad when we had to go home. Make a note to join us in March next year when we will again combine with HVTC. We are the last two clubs still pulling contorta. It's a great weekend and a chance to take part in a valuable conservation project.
On trip: Shane Wilson, Esther Williams, Dave and Guy Scoullar, Teresa Corson, Ross McBeth and Juliet Kojis.
Sledge Track Linton
Thurs 1 Mar 2018 Scribe: Sharron Prouse
With Earle driving, 12 trampers left Wanganui at 8am arriving at Arapuke Forest car park about 9.30am. We started on the back track as Earle said it was less steep than the other (he was right about that). The walk was a gradual rise through the bush, very pleasant. A stop for morning tea then on to the top where there were great views of the countryside.
We had lunch further on and then began the descent down the zigzag to the new swing bridge and along the bush track to the swimming hole (we found out later the main swimming hole was further on). Katy and Don Gordon gave new meaning to "in boots and all”. Katy led the way, jumping in with her clothes and boots on, with Don following. Barbara Gordon in her swim suit also went in. They all said the water was cold but refreshing. We arrived back at the van where Ray gave everyone another of his delicious apples. We stopped at Sanson for icecream, arriving back about 5 pm. A great day had by all.
Six Discs Track
Wed 28 Feb 2018 Scribe: Dick Mitchell
Five club members set off for Levin on Sat 24th. Only one of us had walked this track before so there was keen interest and anticipation.
We left the van at Poads Road behind Levin, strolled over the paddocks and talked to the cows prior to entering the bush at the foot of Waiopehu Ridge.
One of the ladies led up the ridge at a good pace, all were impressed with the bush, the sound of several unseen noisy kereru (woodies), but slightly less so with the initial steepness of the track. However a short hour up and we turned off to the left then had a lot of fun following the sometimes elusive orange triangles across to the South Ohau River. Track was slippery and steep in places which made the game of spot the track marker more fun. Enjoyed a pleasant lunch stop on the banks of the Ohau which was running at a slightly higher level than usual. One braved the coolish waters for a swim.
Coming back to the van via the lower track we crossed a couple of major windfalls. Also met a couple of young ladies who were going to splash their way up to the South Ohau Hut. Ice cream in Levin completed a maiden Tararua tramp for four club members all of whom want to explore the area further. They were Marilyn McGlone, Kate Jones, Jiri Krivanek, Adrian Pike and Dick Mitchell.
Iron Gates Gorge
Wed 28 Feb 2018 Scribe: Dave Scoullar
A team of 13 Wednesday trampers signed on to sample the Stoat Catcher's Track in the western Ruahine, a newish lovely bush track which led to the Oroua River where we had morning tea and then inspected the short but impressive gushing gorge.
We then walked up the river, criss-crossing and rock-hopping and scrambling past a slip to a camp site where it was time for lunch. Upstream again to a stream where the plan was to scramble up to a track. However, the stream had a large waterfall which was too difficult to pass. So it was down the river to the camp site and up a track and back to the van in a tick under six hours.
We were blessed with nice weather and a lovely river which enticed three people to take a quick dip. A bonus was spotting a couple of patches of fully-flowering orchids.
On trip: Barry Hopper, Bruce Thomas, Cherry Channon, David Howard, Dick Mitchell, Dorothy Symes, Graham Sutcliffe, Juliet Kojis, Kathy O'Donnell, Laurel Stowell, Margaret Stratford, Tracey Hooper and Dave Scoullar.
Sat-Sun 24-25 Feb 2018 Scribe: Ken Howie
With a good weather forecast four of us arrived at the North Block road car park and found it fairly full. This is the main route to Sunrise hut, a popular Ruahine weekend destination, so not surprising. We decided to start out on the Sunrise track, at the first saddle turn left and walk down the marked track to the Waipawa River. It is strange how the memory forgets the many zig zags and how much altitude is gained before this track junction is met, but it was nice to eventually walk downhill to the Waipawa river and on to where the river forks. Here we had lunch just upstream from the Forks hut. Our branch of the river widened out to be a large gravel rocky valley with a small river running down it. And it is steep, it made our initial up-hill track climb seem relatively flat.
After an hour-plus of gravel climbing and getting steeper all the way, an orange marker showed the end of the valley and the beginning of another hour-plus climb up a sort of track climbing steeply through scrubby subalpine shrubs to eventually reach the Waipawa Saddle rock cairn and a great view back down the valley we had scrambled up. Now a steep poled route led down through eroding bluffs to reach a headwater stream with a good rock hopping route down. It met the Waikamaka river with the hut on a terrace above it - a welcome sight after eight hours on the go. We had the hut to ourselves until after tea when two young men arrived with no cooker and wanted to light the fire. I lit our cooker for them and they ate outside. We all went to bed and some time later came a commotion on the top sleeping platform: “Are you awake - you’re vomiting all over your sleeping bag you ***** idiot.” Tracey quickly joined us on the bottom platform. In the morning there more vodka bottles than food cans on the porch. We never saw our visitors awaken, and left after breakfast to climb back up to Waipawa saddle. A strong wind was now blowing and Atuaoparapara, our planned route, was covered in mist and cloud. Not much use climbing to see nothing, so it was back down to the Waipawa River all the way to the car park, stopping at the Forks hut for lunch. The lower Waipawa River at normal flow is good travelling with easy crossings and farmland is soon reached with a bulldozed track leading out up to North Block road and 2km back to our car. With Graham Sutcliffe and me lagging behind, a ute appeared and offered a lift - accepted - catching up with Dave Scoullar and Tracey Hooper (lift declined). We all arrived back to the car park to end a fine weekend in the ranges.
Mangapapa Station, Waitotara Valley
Wed 21 Feb 2018 Scribe: Cherry Channon
Despite a grim forecast warning of the arrival of Cyclone Gita, 16 adventurers arrived at the club rooms at 7am for a tramp into the Waitotara Valley, a trail affectionately called the Mistletoe Track on a property owned by Dave Peat.
Our resident Waitotara stalwart, Basil, was our “Leading Man” and we collectedhim at the Waitotara bridge. The 49km drive to the Makakaho road end was an adventure in itself with windfall branches and storm debris threatening to derail our intention of reaching the start of the track.
For the first half hour we walked up a slight incline, a warm-up for the 'biggie' – an hour’s climb up a steep, exposed ridge to a shady spot for morning tea beneath native trees and a stunning flowering rata. A jaunty sign proclaimed itself “Peat’s Rest”. Further on we saw the mistletoe for which the track was named, although itwas past its flowering time.
Our walk continued along steep ridges covered in native bush until we reached Rakaumahi Trig (also known as 3H Trig) where we were treated to wonderful views of the Waitotara hills and surrounding countryside, a perfect spot for lunch. The return loop took us past an old musterer's hut and a picturesque lake complete with a bevy of paradise ducks.
We all enjoyed an excellent day of tramping into one of our favourite areas on a beautiful, sunny day. Our thanks to Basil for making it possible.
Sat-Tus 3-6 Feb 2018 Scribe: Dave Scoullar
On trip: Cherry Channon, Val Wackrow, Mark Sutherland and Dave Scoullar.
Ruahine Forest Park is a fickle mistress -- teasing and tantalising, rewarding and punishing but in spite of everything is a great place to tramp.
Day 1: A leisurely start for the stroll up the Ouroa River past Alice Nash Heritage Memorial Lodge to Iron Gate hut sitting prettily by the river in three and a half hours walking. The weather is overcast and the track, meandering up and down, is mostly in good shape. We are impressed by the number of bait stations -- and we will see a lot more before our four days are over. A whio is seen flying over the river. Two other people stay in the hut overnight.
Day 2: A morning of climbing steadily upwards onto the Ngamoko Range in pleasant conditions. We sit on the tops for lunch, enjoy the views over Hawke's Bay and ponder our options -- drop down to Top Gorge hut on the Pohangina River or to Longview hut? Getting out from Top Gorge tomorrow may be problematic so we opt for Longview reached in five hours walking. A number of hunters come by but decide to fly camp elsewhere. Four other people share hut with us.
Day 3: It is very windy overnight and the wind is still with us but the track to Leon Kinvig hut is mostly protected by leatherwood. We figure where our climb-out point from Top Gorge hut would be and are glad we didn't have to take this informal route through the leatherwood. The day ends with the steep drop to the hut by the Pohangina River in five hours walking. Later there is a big thunderstorm and downpour. A pair of whio is sighted just below the hut which we have to ourselves.
Day 4: An early start for the climb to Toka trig (1526m) on Ngamoko Range. After a rough night, it is misty but not unpleasant for the upward plod until within a few hundred metres of the trig when we are hit by furious westerly winds which blow us around like rag dolls. We help each other and quickly deciding not to try to go north to Tunupo trig, we follow the poled route down Knights track to calmer conditions.
Limestone Rd is reached in five and a half hours walking. There we meet some trampers who take us to Petersons Rd where our van is waiting, a kind gesture which saves us walking some 6km of road. A happy ending to an enjoyable four days in the Ruahine.
Wed 31 Jan 2018
Scribe and Leader: Diane Harries
Where do you go tramping when it’s going to be 30 degrees? Tupapakurua FallsTrack to the west of National Park turned out to be the right choice! The higher altitude and the tree cover provided the cooler conditions we all craved. The native bush was pristine, full of soft ferns and mosses and lunch down by the edge of the stream was refreshingly welcome. Standing close to the base of the waterfall was like a soothing rain shower. World traveller, Ian Kirk gave the walk a six-star rating! And I also have to mention the view from the top across to the waterfall surrounded by huge native podocarps and tree ferns. A system of buckets of gravel gave hardy trampers an opportunity to contribute to the track upkeep by carrying them on to the next work station along the track for spreading over the softer sections. The sixteen happy trampers finished the day with ice cream at Raetihi. Thanks to drivers Royce, Bruce and Dick.
Sat 20 Jan 2018 Scribe: Bruce Thomas
This was Vintage Weekend and things in Wanganui were all go, no doubt the reason for a group of only four for this Saturday trip.
Arriving about 9am to an empty car park, Croppers Clearing was right for morning tea then a short back-track and down Harry’s Ridge for lunch at the tableoverlooking the dam.
The ground was damp on the steep section up to the nail tree but not enough to beslippery. The return trip up Tom’s Ridge was uneventful with some drizzle. We didmeet one couple during the day plus one goat. Great tramping weather for a good day was had by Bruce, Graeme Aitken, Barbara Francis and prospective new member Susanne.
Around Mt Taranaki
Fri-Tue 19-23 Jan 2018 Scribe: Dave Scoullar
The Magnificent Seven got mostly magnificent weather for the five-day 57km jaunt around Mt Taranaki. Despite a lousy weather forecast, we had only one day when we put on our raincoats.
Day 1: From Dawson Falls to Lake Dive hut on the upper track is mainly misty and low cloud but there are occasional views of the Taranaki plains. Light breeze only. The back markers get to the hut in 4:30hr. Some glimpses of the peak later. Share hut with four others.
Day 2: A long, hard day over the top track but mostly a clear mountain and lots of sunshine. Track is greasy and treacherous in some places and overgrown in others. Two have unscheduled dips crossing the last stream before Waiaua Gorge hut which the back markers reach in 10:30hr. Hut to ourselves.
Day 3: An even longer, harder day mostly through bush and then alongside the Stony River with some getting to Holly hut in a record 11:30hr! Again lovely weather. Kahui hut lunch stop. A lot of stream crossings and grovelling around and under obstacles. Also slowed down by tutu invading parts of the track. Three others at Holly.
Day 4: It rains hard overnight and we set off for Maketawa hut in mist and drizzle which persists all morning. Coats on finally. Stop at North Egmont for lunch and coffee at the cafe before taking lower track to Maketawa reached in 7:15hr. Happily, the heavy rain warning is a fizzer. Share hut with three others.
Day 5: Make an early start and puff up The Puffer in hot sunshine towards the cloud-free mountain. Join the around the mountain track at Tahurangi Lodge and then on to Stratford Plateau to reach Dawson Falls for a late lunch in 5hrs. After seeing few people in our earlier travels there are lots around today.
Postcript: My fourth time around this mountain is my hardest despite being blessed by the weather gods. A combination of advancing age and deteriorating tracks play a part on a circuit where we joke that our progress isn't measured in kms per hour but hours per kilometre! A great trip with a great bunch.
On trip: Johnny and Cherry Channon, Shane Wilson, Kathy O'Donnell, Val Wackrow, Dorothy Symes and Dave Scoullar.
Wed 17 Jan 2018 Scribe: Esther Williams
Seven people registered to climb Hauhangatahi, something we haven't advertised for some time. The first volcano in the area, it has a brilliant show of alpine flowers. Half the route climbs in native forest, the other half in tussock, hence the nickname Baldy.
Luckily the co-leader googled the area and, to our astonishment, the route normally taken behind Erua Backpackers was notified as private land with no permission to cross. The Department of Conservation had yet to erect a sign re Wilderness category beyond.
Walking across the railway line is also forbidden. What about the rail crossing on the Old Coach Road? Ironically we had to cross the railway line on our second choice, the Marton Sash and Door. Our Walking Commission rep has been notified of these developments as well as FMC.
We did the Sash and Door instead of Hauhangatahi. But a friend more recently climbed the volcano with his son. On their return, their transport was hemmed in by a vehicle and horse float. Try another way to the top, was the advice.