Pureora Forest Park, Waihaha Hut, May 23 -24, 2009.
Trampers: Ted Angove, Paul Exeter, Denise Payne, Sue Marshall, Julia Mackie and Geoff Donkin
We spent the first night in a very cold Taupo. The next morning, we decided not to go all the way from Bog Inn to Waihaha Hut but instead try joining the track at the midway point. Looking at the maps, the old (1983) one showed a metal road south of Tihoi (Pureora Forest Access Road) while the newer map showed a 4WD track. The old map turned out to be correct and the road was adequate. It contained large puddles, with ice on top. Paul dropped us off, drove around to the Waihaha Hut car park and then sneaked in to meet us.
We headed off to the three Ws track junction in good weather, but there was a cold wind from the south. The route featured many large trees, including a lot of rimus. A large number of kereru (native wood pigeons) were flying around overhead, probably feeding on the miro berries we saw on the track. There were also plenty of tuis fluttering about.
Further on, a strange and fearsome goblin jumped out from behind a tree and gave everyone a terrible fright. But it was only the sneaky Exeter…
On arrival at the hut, it started to rain so we’d made it just in time. The hut was warm; the coal fire had been going for some time, as a large school group was staying. Fortunately, the Year 10 boys were camping outside, with just six parents staying in the hut. In the end, we all got a bunk – with Ted opting to sleep on the large sheltered porch outside. The school group was from St Paul’s in Hamilton and the younger kids do six months of outdoor recreation along with their schoolwork while they are based at Tuhoi. There was a TV programme about them a while ago.
For our pre-dinner enjoyment, Paul had brought some chestnuts. We attempted to cook them on the coal fire range top, but they burned too quickly. ‘Throw them away’ said Paul, pointing at his container. So Ted did – tossing them into the fire, along with Paul’s coffee and breakfast supply. What larks and sparks!
The next day, we headed off in dull, overcast conditions with rain threatening but never quite happening. Initially, there were big trees and then young celery pines (two varieties). There were plenty of tuis here, probably feeding on a type of coprosma berry that was plentiful by the track. We passed a dramatic-looking area where the river water has carved out distinctive shapes in the softer rock above a gorge with rocky outcrops, before we reached the car park and made our way home via a coffee break in Taupo.