Mangatainoka Valley

4- 6 June (Queen’s Birthday)

Eight of us headed south in the van and met up with Paul in Eketahuna, we then headed down Kaiparoro road with the intention of climbing Kaiparoro trig. Unfortunately the road end was one big logging site,every thing was changed and there was no obvious way of arranging safe passage. So around we turned and headed around to Putara Road where Paul’s farm is. Near the end of the road we cut off to the left and eventually parked by a home handyman’s dream hut,  From here we continued on foot up a four wheel drive track through pines and scrub, with some nice views over the valley and the adjacent Tararuas.

After about an hour the track levelled out and  we came to another of Paul’s private huts where we dumped most of our gear. Not far past the hut the scrub ended and we got into kamahi forest which we climbed up through, following a track that Paul had marked, until we first came to some beech forest and then came out onto some rolling semi open tops, with great views of the Tararuas. The plants in this area were a very unusual association with red tussock, leatherwood, and dracaphylum.  Pushing on towards the trig, the going varied from easy to downright fight, but we eventually got to the trig , took some photos and headed back down via a slightly different route that turned out to be somewhat easier going until we were nearly back in the bush. Back at the hut we settled in and lit the fire and said goodbye to Paul who was going home for the night. That night the stars were magnificent,  it was clear and frosty and bloody freezing by morning.

Sunday morning Murry and Derek took off for Roaring Stag Hut, with the rest of us setting out a soupçon, or perhaps a bit more,  later heading down to Paul’s house for a farm tour. Paul took us out in his side by side to show us a magnificent rata tree at the back of his farm, there was also a lovely flowering vine rata on the bush edge. We then continued on around the back of his farm looking at his deer capture paddocks and a protected block of kahikatea. Lunch time saw us at Mount Bruce where we met up with Daniel and Anika before walking around, highlights were the kokako that thought I was gorgeous, the eels and the kaka feeding, then it was back to Paul’s hut for a second night.

Up until Monday the weather had been ok which, considering the time of year and the 4 meter annual rainfall in this area, was pretty good. (There is a reason why everything in the Tararuas over 45 degrees is classified as a waterfall and everything under is considered a swamp.) However we mustn’t complain as it won’t do us any good and nobody listens anyway, besides which it was really only low cloud and drizzle. After following the river for some time through cut over bush, we crossed the second swingbridge and then it was straight up for a couple of hours through, particularly beautiful bush, meeting Murry and Derek not far from the Roaring Stag/Herepai  junction. Another hour of relatively flat going saw us at Herepai  Hut which had just been done up through the Back Country Trust. It’s a lovely bushy spot at the base of a really steep looking mountain.

After lunch it was just a case of hauling our tired decrepit and rapidly ageing bodies back down the natural staircase of mud and tree roots that constitutes what is known in the area as a track and off home for fish and chips. Many thanks to Paul Dandy for showing us around and the use of his hut and for inviting us back again. PB

Party: Peter B, Susan L, Derek B, Murry A, Anne D and Glenda H  plus Paul D (Saturday) plus Daniel B& Anika H (Sunday & Monday)

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