Kaiarahi Circuit, Kaweka Forest Park, Wednesday October 22, 2014
We arrived at the Lakes car park with cool temperatures, low cloud and occasional drizzle, which obscured any views of the Kuripapango region.
Ken R and Vic B meandered up Lakes Road and began the track to Mackintosh Hut for the day, while Paul E and John M explored the flora and fauna around the lakes and Tutaekuri river.
Our group ascended the ridge to Kuripapango and the Smith Russell track with little visibility. Kelvin, Wai, Peter and Dorothy decided that Kiwi Saddle Hut was to be their day’s destination.
After a short break at Kiwi Saddle Hut, the remaining eight continued to ascend north along the ridgeline to Castle Camp, and the Kaiarahi Circuit. As the cloud disappeared late morning, we had wonderful views of the surrounding ridges and Ruapehu in the distance. Before entering the beech forest of Castle Camp, we stopped for lunch on the sunny ridge with lovely views.
After lunch, we continued to Castle Camp, then east onto Kaiarahi. To the north, mist and cloud swirled over Mad Dog Hill, Studholme Saddle and the Kawekas, drifting near us.
After a group photo on Kaiarahi, we continued south to towards Rogue Ridge, the temperature becoming very warm when the sun broke from the clouds. Large rock outcrops were stunning to walk past, and the afternoon views overlooking the morning’s undulating skyline, and the circular rige encompassing the enclosed beech valley, were spectacular.
We finally descended to the Tutaekuri River from Rogue Ridge. Crossing the river, a short walk returned us to the Lakes car park.
It was a wonderful day’s walking amongst some amazing geological formations, where most of the exposed ridges have been eroded by weather, with the flora adapting wherever possible.
Trampers: John Marshall, Vic Bullock, Paul Exeter, Peter Slagter, Ken Ross, Geoff Donkin, Alison Greer, Ali Hollington, Hillary Heath-Caldwell, John Burrell, Wai Anderson, Dorothy Sole, Keith James, Robyn Smith, Kelvin Shaw and reporter Keith Moretta