Sparrowhawk Biv, Ruahine FP, Wednesday 12 February 2020
Banner Pix: The slip near the top of the track to Sparrowhawk Biv.
Hawke’s Bay has been experiencing high temperatures for several weeks, but today’s forecast was for 24C in the hills. The club tramp calendar is set in advance every six months, so this was just fortuitous.
The walk starts through farmland, where we have permission from the owner, and gets us to the confluence of Gold Creek and the Makaroro River. Here the track up the ridgeline to the biv is posted by DoC at 3.5 hours. Fortunately, most of the way is under the bush canopy of some big beech trees and regenerating totara.
The first 30 minutes are steepish before it levels out. This is when I felt about to boil over, and needed to take a quick break. The cicadas were deafening at the lower level and the ground was very dry.The flatter part of the ridge walk is pleasant, and you have time to look around through the bush, and from the rocky open area nearing the top, a view across to Colenso Spur.
About five minutes from the biv, the track passes along a huge slip, for which the Ruahine Ranges are renowned. Then you’ve arrived. The biv is nestled amongst some big trees, which provided the necessary shade when eating lunch. A three-minute walk to the top offers 360 degree views. A breeze helped cool down the heat of the day.After lunch, it was time to take photos and measurements for planned bivvy maintenance by the Back Country Trust. This is due to take place in late Feb, but it depends on how the workload goes at Toka Biv, also getting some much-needed maintenance in the Ruahine FP. Due to the warmer weather we have been experiencing, there was no sign of damp; however, one of the planned jobs is a concrete floor in the annex. We made our way back down to Gold Creek in two hours and, after a quick rehydration, back across the farm to the waiting van, and others who had walked to Barlow Hut, along the Makaroro River. They had enjoyed their walk, with much-envied swims and relaxation.
This track is a great walk in all seasons, but winter especially. We survived the hot temperatures today, but only just.
Trampers: Murray White, Vic Bullock, Dorothy Sole, Jane Thomson, Sally Woods, Kelvin Shaw, Ted Angove
To Sparrowhawk Biv: Phil Winters, Denise Bavidge, Lynette Morgan, John Bennett, Alison Greer, John Burrell, Sue Trotter and Jim Trotter, and reporter Julia Mackie