Kumeti – Opawe crossover, Saturday, July 12, 2008. Map: T23
Trampers: Alison Greer, Ted Angove, Paul Exeter, John Gray, Sue Marshall, Denise Payne, Sue Martin, Julia Mackie, Carol Finch, Alex Thomason, Murray White, Colin McNatty, Keith Lucas, Garry Whincop. Report by Sue Marshall
Friday night forecast for Saturday… rain about the ranges, north-westerly gales in exposed places with gusts 90 to 110 km/h. Not to be put off by a bit of rain and wind, 14 trampers left EIT in high spirits.
Driving south, the Ruahine Range hidden in mist made the prospect of the planned start at Opawe on the western side of the range (where the bad weather was coming from) questionable. A brief conference at the turn-off decided not to pursue the crossover trip.
We then turned right and continued down Kumeti Rd to the picnic area parking, just a few metres from the Mangapuka Stream. No shelter anywhere; getting changed in the misty rain had us questioning our sanity for proceeding with the trip. Somehow, it was decided to head up to Matanginui Trig (1074m) and return the same way. It was 9am as we made our way up the stream bed, noting the site of the now removed Kumeti Hut.
Leaving the stream, it was a steady uphill plod… two sick people caused concern but once medication had been administered they soon perked up and continued on. Rain came and went as we pushed on, breaks were few but the word was to keep going and try to get to the turn-off. Silhouettes of long dead trees projected above the mist, wind gusts increased but good old leatherwood protected us from the worst.
The final straw came with Ted on hands and knees, forcing his way under a leatherwood obstruction across the track – enough was enough! Fourteen wet and muddied trampers retreated, slip-sliding at what seemed a pretty speedy descent back down the stream. With the rain at our backs, we made our way back and forth across the willow-lined stream, arriving at the cars by 1pm.
A comical scene ensued, some standing in the pouring rain trying to eat their overdue lunch, others fighting to peel off wet gear in the confines of the van, others resigned to just do it in the rain! Dishevelled and damp, even in our dry clothes, we huddled in the van, sharing a couple of bags of sweets produced by Sue – everyone smiling – and that’s what it’s all about… happy trampers! We were back home by 3 pm.