Te Puia Hut/Mangatinoka Hot Springs, Saturday June 11
The forecast was dire and the Kaimanawa trip abandoned in favour of Te Puia and the chance of a soak in the hot springs.
Eight of us headed off, wondering what the day was likely to throw at us. Fortunately, the ford was fordable and Colin handled the van well on the greasy road. Four folk opted for Makino and a rendezvous at the springs. The others, including newcomer Mike, left the Gums after a brief stop to check out the road-end hot springs.
The weather was cool and exceptionally still, with grey overcast conditions but no rain. Layers were shortly discarded. Wreaths of cloud hung in among the hills, making for brooding vistas. The natural arch proved elusive. A lone young guy was hightailing it out after starting from the Desert Rd seven days earlier. Chocolate was declined in anticipation of the beer awaiting him at the road end.
We found one young female (complete with skirt – which she wears tramping) in residence at the hut intending to head up onto the tops and possibly out to the Taihape road. She seemed unperturbed (no PLB or GPS – map and compass hopefully!) despite her obvious unfamiliarity with the area and the low visibility. She assured us she was capable of dragging herself to the nearest hut if she broke her leg. Colin was not impressed and neither were we!
We chugged on up to the hot springs to find them cold and dirty. A scrub and refill ensued while we ate lunch. Then it rained… and thoughts of a soak rapidly evaporated! We met three of the others as we headed back to the hut for a bite before heading out in dribs and drabs. Denise and Jude are still unsure how they circumvented the last hill… wings on our feet? The guys had another theory.
Back in town, we discovered it had rained most of the day and felt smug that we’d outwitted the forecast and enjoyed a good stretch in good company yet again!
Trampers: Marc Marchal, Colin McNatty, Murray White, Matt Green, Denise Payne, Ruth Shaw and visitor Mike Cooper and reporter Jude Paton