Kaweka J, Saturday 25 Feb 2017
Banner Picture: Days don’t come much better than this on Kaweka J
Last year there were several attempts by the club to ascend the Kaweka Range’s highest peak. Each time, we were thwarted by bad weather.
Sue Martin has done this trip 10 or 12 times so was well qualified to lead the most recent attempt. She was ably supported by Graeme Taylor who is also no slouch when it comes to experience and knowledge of this area and the surrounds. The four remaining party members (Kaweka J virgins), were at last able to park the pink Porsche down the side alley.
Anyway, the van drive up Whittle Rd provided just a little nervous anticipation. The weather forecast was for 6 degrees overnight and 13 for the day. But what if the wind were to get up? We broke through the mist barrier into clear blue sky and it was all on. No wind, and the temperature we guessed at about 21.
The car park at the road end was full; about 20 cars, utes and many agile young men wearing camouflage and touting .308 rifles. This was a good thing. Their purpose was obviously to protect us from being stampeded by herds of wild, raging deer. This they achieved very well. In fact, we didn’t see a single deer on the entire walk. Actually, nor did they.
The tramp started and immediately we had two sprinting breakaways. The young ones of course, Hannah and Hilary. But us slower and wiser tortoises reeled them in at the turnoff to Dominie Hut where the fleet-footed missed the turn-off and were forced to backtrack. This was our morning tea spot in the sun.The hike to the top was uneventful, no wind – and hot. At Kaweka J, we stopped briefly for a drink and a photo or two. But the job was not done. We about-turned and made for the other high point, Kaweka North. We settled here for lunch. Views were magnificent from the tops with just a slight haze that prevented us from seeing Mt Taranaki. All the other geographic features in Hawke’s Bay and Central Plateau were visible. It was like looking down on a giant map.
Our walk back down was done with care. The shingle scree proved very slippery and none of us wanted to tumble down end-over-end all the way to the car park.
The conversation heading home in the van focused on pies, milkshakes, and Graeme was telling us the cricket score off his mobile thingy. Hilary offered to share the driving then promptly fell asleep in the passenger’s seat.
Trampers: Sue Martin, Hilary Heath-Caldwell and brother Joshua, Bruce Hodgson, Hannah Munro, Graeme Taylor, and reporter/photographer Bruce Hodgson