Te Iringa – Roberts Hut, Wednesday May 13 2009. Map U20
Trampers: Noeline Blair, Kelvin Shaw, Peter Slagter, Ted Angove, Alison Greer, Robyn Smith, Garry Whincop, Murray Goss, Jeanne van den Hout, Graham Bell, Manfred Hausler and Ken Ross
To everyone’s surprise, the conditions as we got out of the van at the top of the Gentle Annie were near perfect. The weather forecast hadn’t been too good. Fourteen set off up the overgrown track, with Ted in front wielding his machete to open it up a bit. The track only just qualifies for the description. At one boot’s width, it needs ‘eyes down’ and doesn’t encourage much conversation along the way.
We climbed quite steeply to soon open up wide views down to Kuripapongo and out across the region to Hawke Bay and beyond to Mahia Peninsula. The wind was, by then, cold and gusty and we were tramping in fresh snow, in sunshine and with a clear blue sky. We were heading west with the Ngaruroro River steeply down to our right; sometimes through rich red tussock and sometimes through light beech forest, where avoiding getting snow down your neck was a priority. The views to the north were fabulous, with the Kawekas, deep in snow, reflecting the sun.
We passed the trig on Te Iringa (1324m), then the cairn on Mt Cameron (1326m) and a bit further on a picturesque frozen tarn on the bush edge. Then it was downhill and across some clay pans before we reached Roberts Hut, just inside the bushline. This hut is best described as having character, but not style! It is in a cold, damp site right on the edge of a small stream. A roaring fire and the smell of food cooking might have helped. We didn’t stay long but retraced our steps and found a sunny spot out of the wind for lunch. The way home was easier, with the wind on our backs, mainly downhill and we could follow our outward footsteps for most of the trip. The track has no markers or signs, so in the snowy conditions we had the odd minor ‘off track’ experience on the way out.
Everyone arrived back at the vehicles with rosy cheeks and a hankering for a hot drink, after an invigorating day.