December 15-16, 2012
The weekend forecast was good and, after a three-hour drive, we arrived at the car park on Table Flat Road. We walked into Heritage Lodge, passing the turn-off for Tunupo, and made our way along the track which at times follows the Orua River; at times we also got views of the tops. Was that Te Hekenga in the distance?
Last time we did this trip, we had no visibility on the tops, but this time the weather gods were smiling. Around lunchtime, we had a quick dip in the river followed by lunch. We were only 20 minutes from the hut but the river looked inviting, and it was a warm day.
On arrival at Iron Gate Hut, we all found a spot to pitch our tents; Jenny was trialling her new one and Alison was trialling an emergency shelter. The Huntec 2-man Biv that I have recently acquired is roomy and lightweight. There were three beds already taken in the hut, and later that evening another four trampers arrived.
Paul cooked his pancakes and Ted his “little boys”. We lazed about, and listened to the river. The three trampers arrived, and we realised they were the stoat line checkers. They had been up to Triangle Hut and back, checking the lines (more later).
The next day, brilliant sunshine, and so five of us headed up to the Ngamoko tops, and then around to Longview, and out to Kashmir Road. Ted and Paul were returning to the cars to drive them around and pick us up. Without them, we would have had to do a different tramp.
This time, we were able to get full 360 views on the tops. At the junction where we turned north for Otumore, we had a good hour’s relax and soaked up the views. We identified the top of Daphne Ridge, where Howletts Hut was just out of view. We could see Te Hekenga again, and the range over by the Deadmans track which we tramped some time ago.
The three stoat line checkers, from Palmerston North and Manawatu Tramping Club, arrived. In the monthly stoat report from the PNMTC, written by Janet Wilson, she notes that “regular helpers Craig and Mike Allerby and new volunteer Thomas Robertson did the more distant lines up to Triangle Hut and the ridge above Iron Gate Hut. They also cleared anything from other traps they passed – on the main track on the way in and the Tunupo track on their way home. They collected one mouse, 12 rats and an almost unbelievable 25 stoats. Of the stoats, 12 were on the ridge above Iron Gate.
“So the last month’s total is one mouse, 32 rats and 41 stoats. That brings the total stoats caught in just over 12 months to 102 – which interestingly is one more than the project reported caught in the years from mid 2008- mid 2011.
“Can anyone help explain the huge increase in stoat numbers caught – 41 in the last few weeks compared to 61in the previous 12 months??
After our long break, it was still too early for lunch, so we headed off to Otumore. Once we reached that junction, we headed to Longview, but stopped and had lunch with the view over the Central Hawke’s Bay plains.
We were passed by two hunters and their dad. They had been successful and shot three deer, and were over the moon with their haul.
Paul and Ted arrived with the cars. Kashmir Road has never been as bad and they only just managed it with our 4WD vehicles. We understand that the road will not be graded until after the logging which is scheduled some time soon. Personally, we think that the logging trucks would find it difficult to get up Kashmir Road in its current state.
A stop in Tikokino for a cold drink was called for, and we bumped into Rosemary and Peter who were helping out a mate with his cattle.
A wonderful trip due to the fantastic weather this time around. We were rewarded with great views, and thoughts of more trips in this area, including Tunupo and perhaps Toka Biv.
Trampers: Alison Greer, Les O’Shea, Geoff Donkin. Jenny Burns, and Julia Mackie did the crossing, and Paul Exeter and Ted Angove moved our vehicles.