Howletts: Tramp and working Bee

7 – 10 September

The scheduled trip was expanded, to facilitate a working bee for various jobs, in particular investigating the foundations and exterior walls being covered in soil and rocks. The four of us who went in on Thursday 7 Sept did so by going through Kashmir farm in my 4WD to the bush edge and thence in via the old [up to early 1990’s] original DoC track. It meets up with the present one on the way down to the Tukituki River. There must have been a massive rainfall from the February cyclone in the upper Tukituki, as the river had changed greatly, spectacularly heaping up at the outside of short corners big rocks/boulders.  The usual antics of removing boots, wringing out sox was practiced before starting up the ‘gentle’ Daphne Ridge up to Howletts. We arrived at Howletts hut mid afternoon, settled in and began other jobs needing attention, like replacing the interior door handles and some cleaning up and tidying up.

 Friday morning and the digging out around the hut walls and foundations. This was made difficult due to the stones and significant rocks that were mixed up in the filling. The spade, shovel and crowbar kept at the hut worked hard ! A slow and tedious job of the digging was done then and exposed the base of the hut and the tin that had been set into the ground. The heap of stones/rocks from this made an impressive sight, probably half a cubic metre ! Janice and Anne had taken all the mattresses outside and scrubbed them down, a bit dirty and mouldy after the winter. They also scrubbed the sleeping platforms, shelves and toilet… among many other tasks.

As the digging out effectively removed the track past the hut, it was necessary to dig further back in to the hill to make a new one and it was paved using stones from the foundations. Two of the heavy 44 gallon drums [originally water tanks] were stowed in the bush by the helipad and the third one I cut the top out of with a cold chisel, so it could be used for a dog kennel or a wood store !

The work continued on Saturday until about mid afternoon, when we went down off the tops to meet the other four coming in for the weekend, having just sprinted up from Daphne!  While waiting for them we pulled out bits of cedar stumps and dead leatherwood which we carried back to boost the hut wood supply. Later in the day two women from Wellington arrived so the hut was full.

A poll on Saturday night re going over the tops [to see the magnificent views from altitude] to Longview got the go ahead, so on Sunday we headed away about 8am in what  looked like a bluebird day…but as the day progressed it was mostly 1-200m visibility ! At times there were distant vistas

.The route down from high point Otumore to the Pohangina Saddle was not enjoyed, being wet and slippery. Straight down to the Kashmir Road end where Nic volunteered ? [younger legs]  to speed out and on to the new Daphne carpark and return in Murry’s ute to get us all back to Kashmir Farm. Murry then took me back over the farm to my ute, to then come out in convoy, meet up with the six waiting at the woolshed, bid farewells and return back to the Bay.

 Extended trip : Simon W, Janice L, Anne C and John M

Weekenders: Paul D , Nic W , Jude H and Murry A .

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