Southern Ruahine Crossing, Saturday, May 7 2011.
Maps: BL35 / BM35 / BM36
Nine members gathered at EIT and got away on time, heading for the Pohangina Valley on the western side of the Ruahines. Unfortunately, two members had already withdrawn on the strength of a wet weather forecast. Sure, the forecast wasn’t great, but we were looking for that “window of opportunity”, south of Mt Egmont and north of Levin – and we got it! Nearly blue sky became the tramp catchphrase.
The trip over was damp and we considered a change of location as we passed through Tikokino but, being a good keen bunch of hardy trampers, we carried on. We did miss the turn-off as we travelled up the valley, but very soon corrected our bearings and arrived at our destination on Opawe Road before 10 am.
Six prepared for the Southern Ruahines crossing and were soon on their way across farm paddocks. It was noted that the western side of the ranges was much drier than the tops and the eastern side.
We enjoyed a steady climb through some nice bush typical of the area – rimu, kamahi, and tawa forest., and a few grand old rata trees. As we gained altitude, shrubby horopito, flax and pink pine prevailed. The track to Mt Maharahara is obvious from below. The leatherwood corridor begins at Mt Maharahara, and covers the tops to Matanginui, after which the junction for the track to Kiritaki Hut turns south.
We got some beautiful views out to the west coast. The tops were foggy but clearing, and we enjoyed a 20-minute lunch close to the track junction to Kiritaki Hut. The track had been well maintained on the Hawke’s Bay side, but was not too good on the western side.
Very soon after lunch, we met the remaining three members and everyone enjoyed a steady but uneventful trip down to the Mangapuaka Stream and back to the van at the Kumeti roadhead.
Thanks to driver Ted. We all had an enjoyable day, arriving back at the EIT about 5 pm.
Trampers: Julia Mackie, Sue Martin, Jude Paton, Ted Angove, Geoff Donkin, Simon Hill, John Russell, Matt Green and John Gray