25 -26 September 2021
As the five participants were all at Te Aute Road in good time the van left at 6.50 a.m. with Simon driving. At the Middle Hill car park we discussed the options; Simon reminded us of the 3 gorges from Makino bivvy to Middle Hill hut so it was decided to go straight to the hut’
The path took us alongside the Mangatutunui Stream. Once over the picturesque stream it is a steep 400 metre ascent. The climb is through regenerating bush with manuka and kanuka the dominant forest. At 900 metres the track flattens and the last 2 km have an ascent of 80 metres. Once we had finished the initial climb, we stopped in a shady area for a leisurely morning tea break.
Middle Hill Hut sits on the edge of red beech forest with a grassy area in front. Built in 1963 it is an ex NZ Forest Service hut. It has three double metal bunks with an open fire which, later in the evening, was to give off a lovely orange glow, with the disadvantage of a chimney which tended to smoke.
The hut attracts a lot of visitors many just passing through. Club member Andrew Y was on a hunting trip, successfully bagging a deer, and was installed in the hut. Another group of hunters stopped off for a bite to eat as did a couple who were on a predator control mission checking and resetting traps. We were advised of wind fall on the track behind the hut and that it would be a good idea if we cleared it. After lunch, Kim set off to explore the Camp Spur Track, Derek and Paula collected firewood whilst Simon and Anne set about clearing the wind fall.
The preparation for dinner was to prove entertaining. Derek set about making toast using the dustpan as the conductor of heat. Paula showed Derek that it would be easier to hold the bread close to the flame of the burner. This was solemnly watched by Simon, Andrew and Derek. So with the toast cooked, Derek then set to heating the rest of his meal on the dust pan and eating it from the same vessel; this proved too much for the on lookers with the group in gales of laughter.
As the hut door faces to the north, we were awake fairly early with the sun coming in the eastern windows. With a leisurely wake up, breakfast, Kim pulling down his tent and clean-up of the hut; we were ready to leave at 8.00. As we walked out we stopped to look at the various visible tracks; the one up Camp Spur Ridge and the track up Trail Spur to Kaweka J. Once again we stopped in a leafy area for morning tea. This was shortly before we commenced our descent. We were all back at the van by 11.30. The planned cup of coffee and lunch was put on hold as the forecast rain set in so we decided to head for home.
Party: Simon W, Kim M, Paula K, Derek B, Anne D