Wednesday June 8, 2011
Te Waka, the canoe that turned to stone, dominates the skyline above Te Pohue on the Napier/Taupo highway and is visible from nearly everywhere in Hawke’s Bay with its distinctive shape and microwave transmitter structure. Our day’s tramp wasn’t from the Taupo road, but from Potters Road out near Puketitiri to the west of the range. (Potters Road was once considered as part of the Napier/Taupo route via Rissington, to link with the current route west of Te Pohue.)
The weather forecast had seemed OK but by the time we got out of the vehicles by the woolshed at the end of the road, there was misty rain in the air and we stopped to don raingear almost immediately after setting off (and it stayed on all day). The route steadily climbed up the west face of the Mangaharuru Range, mainly on farm tracks. We quickly had views back into the Inangatahi Stream, a tributary of the Mohaka. The valley was now filled with swirling mist. The changing weather throughout the day was clear enough at times to give us good views with interesting lighting. Vic was lucky enough to get a Brocken Spectre photo. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brocken_spectre
After reaching the rim of the escarpment, we headed nor-east across the undulating plateau. We stopped near one of the many tarns for a well deserved mid-morning break. Dead reckoning was required at times when we were enshrouded in cloud but our instincts did us well and we found the high radio mast exactly where we expected it. The top was well and truly lost in clouds.
From there, it was north along an undulating farm track to the microwave transmitter site at the Te Waka trig (1039m). We encountered numerous orange-painted waratah standards seemingly randomly implanted, probably the locations for future wind turbines as we were crossing the site of the proposed second stage of the Unison wind farm.
During lunch, the cloud lifted, affording great views back to Kidnappers, Napier and Mitre 10 and to look down on the Taupo road below us. We then generally retraced our morning route, but with improved weather, views were a little more expansive. I enjoyed the distinctive weathered limestone rock outcrops and sculptural cabbage trees more as we descended than when gasping my way up. We even had a nice vivid rainbow as we headed down to the van to cap off a good day’s tramping and visual experiences.
We are again grateful to get permission to tramp on this farm as it affords a great day out in this geologically and historically interesting area.
Trampers: Gary Bowler, Vic Bullock, John Burrell, Paul Exeter, Alison Greer, Rosemary Jeffery, Julia Mackie, John Marshall, Kelvin Shaw, Robyn Smith, Murray White, Dermott McCaughan, Hillary Caldwell and reporter Ken Ross