Author Topic: Two days in the Kawekas  (Read 2464 times)

Two days in the Kawekas
« on: October 06, 2010, 07:25:25 AM »
My first taste of a true NI tramp.

Great to get out somewhere different and explore some of the Hawke's Bay back country.

Driving up Puketitiri Rd through sheep and beef farms and seeing the Kaweka's looming ahead with the final fingers of spring snow grasping the range it felt like I could be back in the South Island.

Originally I had planned to travel in Monday afternoon and get a headstart to Dominie Bivvy that evening. However, working late ended that paln and helping out a country damsal in distress (her Gator had broken down so figure I should give her a lift) meant it was 2pm before I got underway from Makahu saddle.

The climb up Trials Spur was steep but passed easily and Kaweka J's summitt arrived quickly and rather anticlimatically, it truely is just a hump.

After deposited a rock on the memorial cairn I bolted down Back Ridge. The going was smooth to Sterns Saddle but the haul through the bush to the scrubby knob of Maminga (1472m) proved tougher than the climb to Kaweka J.

Reaching the Back Ridge Biv turnoff at 5pm I encountered a sign proclaiming 3 3/4 hours to my planned destination, Kiwi Mouth Hut. Doubting whether I'd make the hut by dark I instead detoured to Rocks Ahead hut.

A relentless 700m drop took me down to Rocks Ahead Stream and a comfortable night in the bright orange hut.

In trambing logic what goes down often has to come up, so an overcast Wednesday morning saw me slogging an equally steep 700m to the Venison Tops. As I cleared the bush the overcast conditions gave way to a biting westerly.

As I swung east and headed for the cloud-shrouded range the wind strengthened and became bitterly cold. After cresting the range I swung north briefly to tag Whetu (1650m) before heading south.

The wind had reached the stage where even walking in a straight line was challenging and it was a rather despondent slog along the tops. Visibility was down to less than 50m but route finding was seldom a challenge with  a marker pole usually looming ahead out of the gloom.

At some stage I passed beneath North Kaweka (1707m) and was relieved when i finally reached the track down Makahu Spur.

Fifteen minutes and a few hundred metres down the spur the icey wind had dropped to a puff and I was baskiing in warm sunshine with a perfect rainbow arcing over the valley.

Hard to believe just minutes before I was struggling just to stay upright.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2010, 07:31:31 AM by Dodgy »