Middle Hill Hut, Camp Spur, Whetu, Makino Hut, Makino Ridge
Kaweka Forest Park, Map: BJ37
Saturday March 28, 2015
A group of six of us started out for Middle Hill Hut, intending to walk the loop up to Whetu and then across to Makino and out to Makahu Road. We often get up to the bushline on Camp Spur, and for either weather, tiredness, or whatever reason, never get to walk this loop. It is a long tramp, and we are nearing the end of summer hours.Middle Hill Hut has been painted and the bright orange certainly looks, well… bright. Telltale paint flakes from the water blasting before painting give the game away, and the water tank flown in to do the job has now gone. It was extremely tidy inside, thanks to all the visits the hut gets from the Kiwi conservation ECOED group. Thanks, and please keep up this great work. The track up to Middle Hill is a trap line, and it seems to be working because in pockets there is an increased volume of bird song; great to hear.
We all discussed the next goal, to climb up to the tops, but Rachel did not feel too well. She decided that she would not be up to the round tramp, so walked with us to the Camp Spur junction before turning back to Middle Hill Hut. She occupied herself at the hut, before making her way back to the Middle Hill car park.So five of us continued and climbed Camp Spur, 1hr 20 mins to the bushline from Middle Hill Hut. After a quick drink and snack break, we decided to have lunch after reaching the tops. In fact, it is only 20 minutes to the top – albeit hard work. The cloud which had been visible on the Middle Hill Hut track had gone (except for Whetu high point), so we celebrated the views and achievement. The track to Makino is clearly visible, and we opted for lunch just before it finally enters the bush. We still had views and were out of the slight wind. A great spot.
The next section of this loop is a long walk to Makino Hut. The walk itself is easy, in bush with only a few undulations. The junction to Mangatarutu Hut was reached, and then we encountered more trap lines and consequently more birdsong again.On reaching the Makino Hut junction (only two minutes from the hut), we popped in to check out the log book. This tidy hut also gets a lot of use by ECOED. With timing of our pick-up set for 5pm, we left the hut just after 3pm. We bumped into a group of 30 schoolgirls at the Te Puia junction. They were on their way to Te Puia for the night. A lively night was predicted, with so many girls.
The walk down to Makahu Road is interesting, with Makino Bivvy the first scenic stop, and then the view across to the farmland and the Mohaka River stops, to soak up the scenery and give the legs and feet a few seconds to rest.
We reached Makahu Road at 4:40pm. The long walk meant aching feet, but a great sense of achievement for those who had not done this route before. My philosophy is that you need to extend your comfort zone and do some of these longer walks, to ensure that your fitness levels are improved. The total time taken including breaks was 8 hours. Well done to all of you.
A separate group walked the Makino Ridge, and then dropped down to Te Puia and walked out, whilst another group walked along the Mokaha River on the Te Puia track, and out again. Fifteen trampers were out in total. A great day for all.
Trampers: Geoff Donkin, Les O’Shea, Rachel Cowie, Jude Paton, Juliet Gillick, and reporter Julia Mackie