Kiwi Saddle Hut – Kaweka Forest Park, Wednesday 6 June 2018
Photos: Hilary Heath-Caldwell
The day started cool yet sunny, and we had a good drive to the Lakes car park and the start of the track into Kiwi Saddle Hut. After a quick briefing and discussion, some chose to walk to the Ngaruroro River and the lakes, whilst the others decided to head to the hut.
An initial steady climb through plantation forest offered lovely clear views of the surrounding forest park and the lakes (looking a vivid blue). The track was in very good condition, free of debris and easy to negotiate. After passing through the pine forest, we entered a lovely undulating piece of the track that consisted mainly of beech trees, lichen-covered, with a thick bed of fallen leaves on the track that made for a very soft passage.Once clear of this area and out onto a ridge, there was a change in the weather – mist rolled in, sun disappeared, and then flurries of gentle snow, yet it was surprisingly warm.
We were very fortunate that throughout the entire day we had virtually no wind. We passed an area that looked as if wilding pine had been sprayed, because they looked very sickly. We negotiated two more good climbs before descending a good-sized scree slope to the hut (a welcome sight, as it was lunchtime). The sun was out again by now.
The hut is well hidden by surrounding trees (so it was very cold, as no sun could penetrate at this time of year) but it’s very well maintained. The hut was built by the Heretaunga Tramping Club and looked as if it had had a new paint job.After enjoying our lunch and lively conversation, it was time to retrace our steps and head back the way we came. The climb back up the scree slope was rather taxing but the sun was shining and the wonderful clear views made up for any discomfort. After about 30 minutes into our journey back, the sun disappeared again and the snow returned, this time quite a bit heavier so that it remained on the track and made for a very picturesque return journey.
Ted made sure we all returned safely by uprooting some young wilding pines and leaving them on the track for us to follow. Snow turned to rain in the last 20-30 minutes. So we had a quick change into dry clothing back at the car park and then headed for home.
What a great day, and we were very fortunate with the weather.
Trampers: Kelvin Shaw, Hilary Heath-Caldwell, Paul Exeter, Dorothy Sole, John Marshall, Alison Greer, John Burrell, Ted Angove and reporter Denise Bavidge