18 July 2021
The forecast for most of New Zealand was for bad weather but the forecast for Kuripapango Hill was for less than 5 mm of rain during the day and a only fresh breeze. As the wind was from the NW we expected to be reasonably sheltered for most of the trip. The forecast proved to be spot on and we only experienced the occasional light drizzle interspersed with patches of sunshine.
Fourteen of us headed up the Taihape Road to the Cameron car-park where we dropped 3 off at to take the Smith Russell track up to 4100. The rest of us left from the Lakes Rd car-park at 8:45 AM and made our way up to the junction near 4100 in two groups, with the last group arriving around 10.30 AM. After morning tea at the junction we reorganised into different groups, 3 planned to find the old shingle slide off 4100 and return that way while the rest, in three groups, continued along the track towards Kiwi Saddle. Some had an early lunch sheltering under the beech trees before returning to the junction while others got as far as the Cameron Hut turn off, where it was rather windy, before turning back. The snow had been quite low earlier in the week but the subsequent warm weather meant that we only encountered small patches of snow.
By 1.30 PM all except the shingle slide trio were back at the junction ready for the return journey. Five took the Smith Russell track down to Cameron car-park while the rest followed the other track down to the Lakes Road car-park where they had a 30 minute wait for the “shingle slide” party to return. They then drove around to the Cameron car-park arriving there about 2:45 PM just after the Smith Russell track party had arrived.
Shingle Slide Party: Forty years ago, you stood on the top and headed off past a small and lonely beech tree, raced down the shingle slide and came out at the lake. Now you head east through the horrible tangle of contorta and deer droppings with the lie of the land and the deer tracks pushing always to the south of where you think you want to go. You can’t see a bloody thing until eventually you end up in some lovely but very eaten out beech forest, where the easiest route pushes you even further south of where you think you should be. The ridges keep turning into scrub and the gullies keep turning into dry waterfalls. Eventually the beech turns to larger scrub with a sprinkling of lawyer, it flattens out a bit and you find yourself on the edge of the pine forest. So no shingle slide, but a great little adventure.
Party: Peter B, Jo P , Dylan V , Colin J, Kim M, Derek B, Nick W, Janice L, Jude H, Vivian X, Marie T, Robyn W, Anne D, Glenda H