Rosvall Track – Tarn Bivouac, Wednesday, February 18 2009, Map U22.
Trampers: Kelvin Shaw, Gary Bowler, Peter Slagter, Murray White, Julia Mackie, Manfred Hausler, Jeanne Van Den Hout, Alison Greer, Paul Exeter, Vic Bullock and Keith Moretta
Cloud-covered Ruahines greeted 11 members on a still and warm day. From the end of Mill Road, and passing the local farm, we briefly walked along the Moorcock stream. From the Moorcock-Tukituki River junction, we headed west, towards the source of the Tukituki River. Both rivers were flowing higher than normal, due to recent rain.
After 2 km along the steep and rocky Tukituki River, the group began the Rosvall track.
An 850m elevation gain in only 2 km typified the beauty and ruggedness of the Ruahines. On reaching the 1285m summit, there were clear views of Howletts Hut, to the South-west, set minutely on the huge Daphne Ridge at the top of Daphne Spur. To the West and North, heavy cloud settled over some of the jagged tops of Sawtooth and Black Ridges, and water cascaded down them into the North Branch Tukituki River, more than 500 m below.
The steep countryside was dominated by beech trees, with young rimu, totara, manuka, horopito, pittosporum, bracken, tree ferns, pungas, and mosses – a healthy sign that deer and goat numbers are reducing. Leatherwood covered the top ridges, with occasional stunted mountain beech, all trying to survive the extreme harsh ridge-top conditions.
After an undulating, 20-minute walk along Black Ridge from Rosvall track summit, we arrived at Tarn Bivouac for lunch. We were greeted with more splendid views across vast areas from Central Hawke’s Bay to Havelock North.
After lunch, we returned along Black Ridge to begin descending Rosvall track. The group reached the Tukituki River after 90 minutes descending through the forest.
It was an enjoyable, challenging day that had a variety of terrains, with everyone walking within their abilities. So after returning through the Tukituki River, then Moorcock Stream, it was a welcome to return to the van and rest.