Top Gorge Hut

4 – 5   December  2021

Numbers dropped from five to three as at Friday night so we travelled in my ute leaving at 7am. Murry was going to join us but was working until midday Saturday so joined us solo later in the day.

There were five vehicles at the Kashmir roadend so we wondered where they all would be tonight, hopefully not at the four bunk Top Gorge hut ! It was overcast but quite mild so was warming on the way up to Longview hut. We stopped for half an hour for an early lunch. Five day trippers arrived, relieved they were not heading our way. They reported nine cars at the roadend, so it was quite populated somewhere.

The route to the headwaters of the Pohangina River goes down just south of the Longview Hut turnoff and showed 1.5 hours to Top Gorge hut, seemed a bit ambitious for the distance and that it was just a river route. The first entry into the water was above a non navigable waterfall, so backtracked and found a doable entry below same. Having not been there before, I had thoughts of how it would be. Our time was in fact 3.5hours, it is mostly not fast going navigating around the rocky bed and outcrops. It was slow although we wasted no time really. The  river [creek at this stage] is mostly narrow sections with steep rock walls and is therefore slow going, careful foot placement and dodging slippery rock etc. There are several more waterfalls to negotiate, the worst has a rudimentary route on the true left and a drop back into the bed. 

The three of us arrived at the hut about 4.30 followed soon after by Murry, meeting us with a big grin. Murry had come in via the Longview Ridge route, down through the gap in the leatherwood below Rocky Knob, down a steep side creek and so down river to the hut. Good to see him again. I understand that the hut had an earth floor for a long time, but now has a concrete one. The inside is neatly lined with chipboard polyurethaned, quite smart.

Various dinners were prepared and eaten and to the bunks by about 9pm. I had carried in a Mountain Radio to test out and spoke to the Hastings base operator with a good signal report. Rain seemed imminent many times on Saturday, in the evening and on the way out on Sunday but coats were not needed. Had we been there for two nights, we would have gone up the track to the west that gains the top of the Ngamoko Range at about the mid point.

We departed Sunday morning at about 8am having found a track up behind the hut that got us easily to the ridge. We then went north up Rocky Knob and along to Longview Hut for lunch. Finally the clamber back down to the carpark by about 2.30. Very little sign of venison, old droppings and sparse footprint marks so hunters may have thin pickings. The exterior of the hut needs some attention, roof and walls need paint and the wooden windows need some TLC and paint too. A new meatsafe has been flown in but is still resting on its back in the bush where it landed, just needing installation.

Thanks to all for a neat trip in this corner of the Ruahines that I had not been to before. We farewelled Murry and  set off on our respective ways home.

Party :  Paula K, Simon W, John M and Murry A.

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