Top Maropea Hut – Sunrise Hut, September 15 2010. Map: BK36
Trampers: Kelvin Shaw, Peter Slagter, Alison Greer, Gary Bowler, Paul Exeter, Vic Bullock, Ken Ross, John Marshall, Viv Pinkham (visitor), John Gray, Robyn Smith, Murray Goss, Ron Morison, John Burrell, Elaine Gavin (visitor) and Keith Moretta
Strong winds, snow-clad hills and spring lambs greeted us at the Sunrise Hut car park. The walk was planned through the wonderful beech forest track to Sunrise Lodge, then continuing over Armstrong Saddle and finally dropping down into Top Maropea Hut.
Light snow began to fall, 30 minutes before Sunrise Lodge, and everything looked as if it had a heavy coating of icing sugar. At Sunrise Lodge, Alison greeted everyone with a warm smile and the occasional snowball.
Inside the lodge, the warmth from the gas heater was appreciated and it was nice to be out of the strong wind. Everyone was in good humour, and an early lunch was very enjoyable. With typical spring conditions of strong gusts, occasional snow and intermittent sunshine, only a few were keen to venture out of Sunrise and go to the ridge above Armstrong Saddle.
Keith, Peter and Robyn set off around noon. The track to Armstrong Saddle was covered with snow, but not icy, which made walking not too difficult. It felt colder due to the wind chill, but Robyn was determined to go beyond Sunrise for the first time. Although this was her third or fourth visit to Sunrise, she had not ventured further due to typical Ruahine weather – but today’s conditions were not a deterrent.
On the ridge above Armstrong Saddle, views were limited and with more low cloud, dropping snow and reducing visibility, we headed back to Sunrise, where many of the group were already walking back to the car park.
After a short rest for refreshments, the remainder headed back to the car park. The snow was quickly disappearing, and the lovely beech walk sheltered everyone from the high winds.
The beech forest to Sunrise is a very popular walk, and although we had a shorter day due to the weather conditions, it was a very enjoyable time for everyone.