Upper Makaroro Hut,
Saturday/Sunday, January 25/26 2014
We start with three trampers on this weekend tramp. We park at the Yeoman’s Historic Mill car park, and cross the Makaroro River in our sandals. We hide these, and put on our boots. This is to make the tramp more enjoyable, as walking with wet boots and socks is not fun when it can be avoided.
The track is initially along a forestry road, before heading into bush, and then a gradual climb turns into a steeper climb. At our first stop, we review the options for Jenny who is suffering from an asthma issue. The day tramp party is also going this way, and this becomes her preferred option once we reach the Barlow Hut turn-off. There are several open areas, where we are able to get views of the Ruahine Ranges. Sparrowhawk Bivouac and Kylie Bivouac are specks on the ranges.
From the Barlow Hut junction, it is just Les and myself. We crack on, and reach Parks Peak Hut for a brew-up and lunch break. I am keen to get down to Upper Makaroro for a swim, so we reach the river and hut at 2.40pm. By 2.50, we are in the river cooling off.
We set up camp, and have a laze in the sun. It is great to have this time to enjoy a hut and its surroundings, so we take a walk further up Makaroro River.
We hear at least two whio, near nightfall.
The next day, we walk out via the Makaroro River to Barlow Hut. A sign indicates that this should be attempted by experienced trampers only. I have been down here before and have memories of only one gorge which may be difficult. It takes us three hours to get to Barlow Hut. There were only a few tricky parts, but the boulder walking made it slow going. The gorge was not too bad, only up to crotch height. There are many recent slips which have been caused by the high rainfall in the Ruahine Ranges. The river valleys have steep sides, with vegetation just clinging on. There are many deep pools, and we spot some good-sized trout, as well as some tiddlers.
We stop for lunch and a brew at Barlow Hut, before tackling the next section of the river which is easier as the boulders are smaller, and the river shallower. In just over an hour, we reach the Gold Creek-Sparrowhawk Ridge track junction.
We decide to take the track up to Makaroro Road, as we are tired of river walking. A good decision, and we are soon back at the historic mill site. Our sandals are retrieved, and we have had a great weekend tramp. Who knows if the Ruataniwha Dam will go ahead? We will have good memories of the tracks in this area of the Ruahine Ranges.
Trampers: Les O’Shea and Julia Mackie