Ruamahanga at SH2 -Cow creek Hut- Kiriwhakapapa

With 2023 being a weather disrupted year it was time to brush the cobwebs off at the beginning of  2024. It had been months for some people since any overnight tramping. Seven trampers were  dropped off at Ruamahanga car park and quickly reminded that an overnight trip means heavier  packs. Having previously checked the area out last year we knew to head up a farm track uphill for  150 metres even though there were no track markings until further up the hill. We then had to head  down the same distance to farmland terrace that finished by some private huts. The track then  went through scrubby bush with remnants of four wheeler track. Eventually after a couple of hours  from the road we came across the Tararua forest park boundary sign.    

Our next obstacle was a narrow stream that appeared rather gnarly from above but in fact was not  bad because of some well placed tree roots to hold onto. The tree roots often covered by foliage  were however a nuisance on a lot of track where we had to concentrate hard where to place our  feet, ( well that’s my excuse for taking our time.) When we came across a nice flat area we all had  welcomed lunch stop and fluid replenishment on a very hot day  After about 4.5 hours we reached the well marked Cleft Creek turn off.

The track then follows terraces above Cleft Creek until after half an hour it drops down into the  creek opposite a side stream. The markers direct one up on the true right to the next side stream.  from then, at the next side stream,  there is a steady climb through the bush to cow saddle, a  welcome sight when we arrived. It was confusing for me having last time taken a different and  worse route shown on my 2006 Tararua map! (one advantage of updated Apps on phone) 

 It did not take long to descend the knee challenging track down to Cow Creek Hut arriving after 8  hours of tramping from the beginning. This was occupied by nice young couple who quickly  evacuated and erected a tent. They probably could tell we looked like a a group of snorers. Not  long after a another party of 4 Scottish travellers arrived with no tents. Some of our party slept  under tents and tarps and we kindly offered the Scots our hiking mattresses for the floor while we  slept on the hut mattresses.    

The next morning Murray and Robin were the first up and last ready to leave. After crossing the  bridge the track followed the side of Waingawa river beneath a slip and then a never ending 500  metre climb to the main ridge. A undulating track of further few hundred metres height brought us  to the high point and then the turn off to Blue Range hut. by the time the stragglers arrived to the  hut a welcome brew was waiting to enjoy lunch with.  After climbing back up to the main track there was a steady descent down to Kriwhakapapa camp  arriving mid afternoon. 

Party: Colin J, Simon W, Nic W, Paula K, Jude H, Robyn W, Murry A 

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