The great divide is well and truly closed
Rogue Ridge, Mt Kaiarahi and Mackintosh Spur,
Wednesday, April 25 2012
Wednesday Trampers? Saturday Trampers? As of now, there is no such thing. Only trampers from the Napier club. All it took was an ANZAC day off work to complete the transition. With at least one long-serving member tramping on a Wednesday for the very first time, it had to be a good day, and it was.
There were 16 of us, using the van plus one car. The weather forecast was for a cool start and a clear sunny day with little wind. It was 8 deg C when we arrived at the Lakes car park.
The aim was to complete the circuit formed by ascending Rogue Ridge, traversing the tops to Mt Kaiarahi at 1507 metres and then descending Mackintosh Spur to the Mackintosh Hut and returning via the Mackintosh car park, where the van would be waiting, thanks to Vic.
Fourteen of us set off towards The Rogue, leaving two of the party to do their own thing. (Thankfully, Vic was one of the two, as he was to bring the van around later in the day.) The first crossing of the Tutaekuri only meant a few wet feet, as the river was running very low.
At the junction that was “Rogue to the left” or “less adventurous to the right” (shortcut to Mackintosh), we said goodbye to three of the party and set off to The Rogue. Ascending the Rogue was a steep climb but not as bad as the rumours would have you believe. We arrived at the top of the ridge to be met by panoramic views of the surrounding ridges and a clear view of Mt Ruapehu in the distance. Ruapehu has very little snow for this time of year. The wind was slight but very chilly, so we did not hang around.
The only negative on this trip was the encroachment of pinus contorta. It was everywhere – and spreading. Scenic views today will soon become lost tomorrow when the growth blocks us out. Track maintenance will be critical if the next generation of trampers wants to find a way through. We did our bit by pulling them out by the roots, literally in the hundreds.
We had lunch at Mt Kaiarahi in the lee of the wind and bathed in sunshine. One of the party brought shame on the group by checking her cellphone, and then losing it amongst the undergrowth. The final straw was a request from this new-age technocrat for someone else with a phone to call her, so as to help the search for a ringing phone.
We arrived at Mackintosh Hut at about 2.30 pm and had a short break on the veranda before setting off for the final leg. There was no indication that the three strays from our group had been there for lunch as expected. However, between there and the car park there was evidence of their presence by the number of uprooted contorta. Well done Paul.
From the hut, the track leads back to the Tutaekuri River for the second crossing of the day and there are a few slips to negotiate, which would raise the heart rate of the less adventurous. The river has a much increased flow but thankfully a bridge keeps the feet dry. From there it is up, up, up, to the car park where the transport is waiting as arranged. In total, we were out for seven hours on a fantastic day. The Saturday Trampers managed to keep up and hopefully we made them welcome enough to see them all again.
Trampers: John Marshall, Sue Martin, Sue Titter, Jude Paton, Alison Greer, Viv Waterer, Isobel Holdaway, Murray Goss, Vic Bullock, Paul Exeter, Peter Slagter, John Burrell, Jenny Burns, Robyn Smith, Rosemary Jeffery and reporter Kelvin Shaw