Te Puia Hut (Lodge), Kaweka FP, April 6 2019
Banner Pix: Views of the Mohaka River along the track
Te Puia Hut is a always a safe and comfortable walk for most people. That’s why we had a full van-load for the Saturday tramp. The weather in Napier at 7am was cool and dampish but we had faith that conditions would be good in the Kawekas.
Our group consisted of people new to the club (but not new to tramping) and some older returning members. When I say older, I don’t mean old as in ‘old people’, I mean previously active members returning for a jaunt (eh, Sally?).The planned route to Te Puia was the inland, over-the-top track from Makahu Road starting a kilometre or so before the road-end car park. It was always understood that one or two would take the lower, more popular and slightly easier track because – although a similar distance to the destination – there was not such a steep climb. Members are not known to shirk a challenge; we are, after all, a tramping club. So I was surprised when two thirds of us found excuses to take the easy route. ‘Well, I haven’t been tramping for a few weeks’ or ‘Oh, I didn’t bring the right boots for a slippery downhill’ and ‘I want to keep so and so company’. I was one of those softies. We dropped the hard four off and agreed to meet them at Te Puia Hut. The tramp for the hard four was uneventful with not much to report, I was later told. They detoured to Makino Hut at the junction for morning smoko before the big descent.
The soft eight arrived at the hut in good time and with no drama. Feeling a little unchallenged by our walk, some of us headed to the Mangatainoka hot springs. John and Margaret togged up and had a soak. The rest of us watched while eating lunch.
The return along the Mohaka River held a good deal of interest. We were a fragmented group at this stage but all encountered four dead rats and a stoat, victims of the DoC 200 traps. Good to see the traps had been cleared and reset by hard-working volunteers, but disturbing that so many pests must be around.
The track had become a highway for a seemingly never-ending procession of young people packed up and heading for the hot springs camping spot. Thirty girls from Napier Girls High school were doing their bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award tramping exercise. An equal number of early 20s-looking guys and girls from Victoria Tramping Club were also heading to the camp. It promised to be a fun night for all and it was great to see so many happy, smiling and excited young Kiwis out in the fresh air.
Thanks to John Dobbs for driving and to Juliet for organising this fantastic day out.
Trampers: Alison Greer, Juliet Gillick, Di Reid, Elly Govers, Gerard Van, Sally Woods, John Dobbs, Fiona Chiverell, Keith James, Chaitanya Sambare, Margaret Palmer and reporter Bruce Hodgson