Sunrise and Route 66, Wednesday March 13
This was to be a re-run of the aborted tramp of February 27 when high winds above Sunrise Hut and generally foul weather drove us down. Today, things were different. We were blessed with a clear blue sky and almost no wind. We were a little more conservative with our goals and planned not to do the return down the Waipawa River but be content with an in-and-out trip to “66” (aka Te Atuaoparapara), which suited the make-up of the party.
Sunrise Hut was a like a bomb site. Three builders were ensconced and had managed to make the place almost uninhabitable. They were replacing the gas heater with a wood stove, and installing double glazing, some windows and a false ceiling in the kitchen. It was good that we had planned only a brief stop there.
From the hut, it was over to Armstrong Saddle then south and up to the high point of 66 at an elevation of 1687 metres. The route itself is not too steep but the drop-offs all around are dramatically so. Not everyone made the top but chose instead to have their lunch on some other high point with views all around, watch the progress of the “summit party” and enjoy the glorious day.
We met a number of others on the day – but not Scottish comedian Billy Connolly, who was apparently on some other Route 66. Never mind!
The homeward trip was extended by some with a loop round the Swamp Track which is always worth the effort. This track passes through some very nice mature forest with lots of young trees establishing themselves. All trampers were back at the van by about 4.30 pm, feeling well satisfied with their day’s tramp – although some were more tired and scratched than others.
Trampers: Dorothy Sole, John Marshall, Tony Pluymer (visitor), Keith Moretta, Les O’Shea, John Burrell and reporter Ken Ross