This was the clubs first tramp since March the 14th due to lock-down but at level 2 we could have a group of 10 maximum, to enjoy the outdoors once again.
The trip was planned for a day walk to Makino Hut but on arrival at the Makino carpark there were 3 other vehicles taking up all the parking space.We decided to return to Middle Hill carpark and walk into Middle Hill Hut. The Makahu road to here was in very good condition and the ford crossing was shallow. Out of 9 trampers- 5 had not been to Middle Hill Hut so it was a new track and hut for them to explore. The weather was in our favour, a cloudy but mild day, although we started off with jackets hats and gloves. A few patches of frost in the shaded areas reminded us that winter is on its way.
After crossing the bridge by a nearby stream the track climbs fairly steeply through manuka / kanuka forest before reaching a plateau.The track was very dry and in parts it was covered on flax leaves where the deer had been tugging at the plants and chewing the ends of the leaves. We saw one hunter on his way back to the carpark empty handed. More climbing lead to the flats where the tussock plants were a picture of colour. This area is where Kiwis are released so there are many predator tramps along the track. We saw 8 rats in traps- 3 had already been removed and 3 of the party released the other 5 and re set the traps. (Joan has reported the find to DOC.)
We spent an hour for lunch at the hut which included a short walk through the beech forest beyond the hut. The hut was in very good condition with ample firewood to feed the huge fireplace.On our return to the carpark we either saw or heard Swallows, Whiteheads, Tomtits Tui and Peter heard a Fernbird. We also saw- very clearly- mountain bike tracks going down despite the information board saying no bikes. Middle Hill was a great alternative, enjoyed by the following H.T.C. trampers Joan R, Robyn P, Glenda H, Anne D, Jude H, Kim M,Derek B, Peter B & Janice L.