Leon Kinvig Hut, July 26-27, 2008. Map: T23
Trampers: Julia Mackie, Simon Hill, Paul Exeter, Ted Angove and John Gray (reporter)
Our group of just five trampers arrived at the end of Ngamoko Road, Norsewood, at about 8.15 am and prepared for the tramp. This was the weekend of the major ‘weather bomb’, predicted to bring seriously adverse weather to much of the North Island, from a N – NE direction.
The day party had called off its trip in the same area because of the forecast. Our weather was reasonable when we set off from the car park at about 8.30 am, but showers soon encouraged us to put on our coats, when we entered the bushline. Conditions were good for tramping and we were soon at the turn-off to Makaretu and Cattle Creek tracks.
Here, we made a strange discovery! An abandoned ‘pup-tent’, collapsed and still pegged down, in a clearing on the ridge track. It had some personal effects, a billy and a foam-rubber mattress, still inside. It remains a mystery. What had happened to the occupant? We thought he may have got into some difficulty and decided to clear out while he could. Nearby, we had an early lunch, to get ready for the steady climb onto the main range track to Leon Kinvig Hut. Near the top of this climb, snow began falling lightly and continued all the way to the hut, fortunately without much wind! We could not see much beyond 200 metres.
Leon Kinvig is a comfortable eight-bunk hut, with a good verandah and an open fire. We soon had a good fire going and were changed into dry hut clothes, ready to warm up, with some nibbles and a hot drink. The old fireplace smokes badly, so between trying to keep warm and opening the door and window to remove the smoke, we were never very hot (except the one that was sitting in front of the fire)! Early to bed was the easiest way to keep warm and avoid the smoke.
Next morning revealed that a bit more snow had fallen overnight and rain had added a little to the flow in the Pohangina River. Well wrapped up, we started on the uphill grind back over the same return track, in the cold and rain.
We had an even quicker lunch-snack and after a steady ‘heads-down’ tramp, arrived back at the car park about 2.30pm. The nearby woolshed was a good place to change into dry clothes.
A welcome cup of coffee at Norsewood was great and on our drive home we got occasional views of the Ruahines, showing heavier snow had fallen north of our tramping area. We arrived in Napier about 4pm. Unpacking at home, clothes and packs were very wet and very, very smoky!