Saturday February 11 2012
Sunrise, Top Maropea – Map BK36
The La Nina weather pattern this summer affected our tramp this Saturday. The scheduled trip along the tops from Sunrise to Sparrowhawk Bivvy is not going to happen due to the complete clag in the Ruahine ranges. So to Plan B, which is up to Sunrise and then on to Top Maropea Hut for lunch.
Sixteen on this trip, including Carolyn, newly arrived from the UK. As this was her first tramp with the club, the trip is a good one to test her ability. (Carolyn did well, and we hope to see more of her while she is in NZ on a doctor’s secondment for one year. We should be in good hands if anything goes medically awry.)
At the start of the Sunrise Hut track, which is one that DoC keeps open as a superhighway, a lovely young rimu tree stands proudly. Unfortunately about 500m further up the track, an old rimu has come a cropper, and fallen over. But it is good to see a lot of regenerating trees on this track.
The track zigzags for a short while, and then winds its way around the hillside. In 30 minutes, you reach the Waipawa Forks turn-off. From there, a steady climb continues to the hut, passing some patches of creeping eyebright (Euphrasia revoluta), and some fading Senecio (Senecio bellidioides).
Once we have all reached Sunrise Hut and snacked and watered, nine of us continue on to Top Maropea Hut. This part is exposed, so we feel the drizzle. Making our way past Armstrong Saddle, we sidle around the top of some seriously big slips, a feature of the Ruahine ranges. We reach the turn-off for Te Atuoparapara, and the start of the descent to Top Maropea Hut. The track winds around a few rocky bluffs, before it enters the bush for a steep descent to the hut.
Top Maropea Hut is a small NZFS four-bunk hut. A back porch has been built over the doorway. It is dark inside, but has a small open fire. All nine of us find a seat inside for an early lunch, after which we head back up the steep bush track to the tops, and take a group photo. We all seem to be enjoying the walk, even though we are getting wet. A tramper should be able to cope with all weather conditions, and still have fun.
We reach Sunrise Hut again, and find that everyone else has already departed, so after a quick drink stop, we head off downhill. Somehow the return downhill seems much longer than the uphill this morning. We are happy to get out of our wet gear and back into the van, and head home. A good day trip, and a pity that we never got any views, but all the more reason to put the original trip back onto the list again. Better luck with the weather next time.
Trampers: Carolyn Rigg, Marc Marchal, Colin McNatty, Matt Greene, Jenny Burns, Ted Angove, Paul Exeter, John Marshall, Dennis Mitchell, Kelvin Shaw, Viv Bramley, Sue Titter, Sue Martin, Denise Payne, Jude Paton and Julia Mackie