19 December 2021
The Triplex Hut area had been chosen for the Christmas tramp as it offered a number of possibilities. A party of 10 set out from Te Aute Road and one more was picked up on rout, we were to meet Murry and Dave at Triplex Hut. As is usual for the North Block Road end car park there were a good number of cars with parking at a premium.
We all set off for Triplex Hut where we were to make a decision on our destinations. At Triplex we secreted the container with the Christmas food. A group of 5, Anne C, Greg, Jude, Nick and Paula were to go to Sunrise Hut and if possible cross the Armstrong Saddle while the plan for the rest plan was to get to the Waipawa Forks/Sunrise Track Saddle and then decide. As we tramped up Peter reminded us of the mistletoe cage on a bend which should be flowering. When we came upon it there were red flowers so photographing the flowers became a priority and we spent awhile getting the best shots.
Our journey continued on to the bench seat at the Waipawa Forks/Sunrise Track Saddle where we took a break and decided what the plan was to be. There was a stiff breeze on our backs, up from the Waipawa River, and as the wind can funnel down the Waipawa River we decided to return and walk the Swamp Track. Murry and Dave met us shortly after our return journey had started. We chatted for a bit telling of plans of the two parties. As Dave was keen to drop down to the Waipawa River, Murry went with him.
The Swamp Track party decided that we would go back to Triplex Hut where we would have lunch. After a leisurely lunch we left our packs in the hut and it was on to the Swamp track; this we did going from the eastern side. This track has not had the same attention that has been lavished on the Sunrise Track, there are a number of trees that have fallen across the track; these are reasonably easy to navigate however, on the track out to the Waipawa River access, there is a large tree over the track which takes some clambering over. Back in the swamp area there were a number of large dragon flies, NZ Bush Giant Dragonfly – uropetala carovei. Peter referred to them as devil’s darning needles. The western side of the track is a lot wetter, with a number of muddy patches to walk through, and the lush vegetation is encroaching on to the track.
The plan was for all the groups to meet back at the hut by 3.00; where we would have a Christmas afternoon tea. Janice had brought Christmas decorations and fancy plates which she set up, in the shade, on a table made from two of the hut forms. The Sunrise party returned telling of their venture across the Armstrong Saddle. There was a chilly wind but they made the trip. A photo, taken by Paula, shows the other 4 members with their feet firmly planted on the ground and Jude’s hair indicating the strength of the wind.
When Murry and Dave returned, they reported that they had dropped down to the Waipawa River but as the river was cloudy and flowing at a higher level than desired so they returned back up the track they had come down.
Joan had brought a game/challenge for us. She had created a large montage of well-known faces who we had to name. There were 38 however the faces.
Party: Anne D, Anne C, Susan L, Peter B, Jude H, Janice L, Glenda H, Paula K, Dave M, Murry A, Joan R, Nick W and Greg S