9th – 10th April 2023 (Easter Sunday & Monday)
The plan for a Easter tramp had been to visit parts of the Kaimai ranges, but due to damaged roads leading north from Hawkes Bay because of Cyclone Gabrielle, a possible local alternative was sort. Perhaps we could go to Mackintosh hut in the southern Kawekas taking very indirect routes. As it turned out the Napier – Taihape road was just opening up as far as Kuripapango and access to the Kaweka Lakes carpark was still open, although the road narrowed in places due to road subsidence.
With reference to NZ TopoMap BJ37, the tramp crossed a low flowing scoured out Tutaekuri River and on up the Rogue Ridge. There was low cloud to the east, but upon reaching the top of the ridge we were rewarded with sunshine and great views to the west in the direction of the Kiwi Saddle Hut on a distant ridge line. After a lunch break our party continued along the narrow ridge line up and down over rocky outcrops of The Tits and Kaiarahi above the Cooks Horn Basin to the east.
As the day progressed the wind was increasing and our party was pleased to be gaining some shelter going down the Mackintosh spur track. The top half of the track had a large number of trees down making progress slow. Six hours later we were at the Mackintosh Hut. Our party had thought the hut may be full with hunters, but as it turned out there was only two hunters. A number of our party decided to tent around the hut.
Talking to the hunters who came in on the more direct route from the Kaweka Lakes Road, we found there was a substantial slip on the northern side of the foot bridge that crossed the Tutaekuri River. Other remarks seen on the track signs suggested there was damage on the track that went back to the Kaweka Lakes carpark below the Cooks Horn Basin via the old Kaweka Hut site. Which way do we go ? We opted to try the track back to Kaweka Lakes carpark below the Cooks Horn Basin via the old Kaweka Hut site. This route also had scoured out streams, small slips, steep access in & out streams, over grown sections of track.
Lunch was had at the old Kaweka Hut site, but we were all briefly startled by a falling tree near by. The odd deer was heard roaring close to the track also. Fives hours later our party arrived back at the club van left at the Kaweka Lakes carpark, a little tired, but thankfully no one was hurt or startled by gun shots.
Robyn Wilson comments on this tramp It was a good variation of scenery and terrain with some added challenges with negotiating severely scoured out streams, courtesy of Cyclone Gabrielle a few weeks earlier. This in some places meant slips or vertical drops that were over two metres high/deep! New alternate little sections of track needed to be trod on and quite a few downed trees needed to somehow be traversed. Such an interesting way to get to and from a hut that some may be capable of reaching in just 2 or 3 hours by way of the fastest track. By taking indirect tracks, it took so much longer.. a focus on the journey more than the destination. The weather held out beautifully. All in all, a great weekend in the Kawekas.
Tramp participants were: Paula K, Simon W, Flynn S, Murry A, Nic W, Robyn W & Derek B.