Makino – Mangaturutu – Tira Lodge, Kaweka FP, 17-18 Mar 1990
Banner Pix: Looking SSE to North Kaweka and Kaweka J from the Ballard Hut turnoff
Our weekend started well, with Ted Angove (who was going on the day trip to Te Puia) taking off with our diminutive Ray’s pack in his van and us chasing up the hill after him, then finding Ted waiting at the top. We parked the car, changed into our gear and then the five ‘Big Thinkers’ set off along Makino Ridge at a brisk pace. We made Makino Hut and stopped for a drink and a bit of a munch and then proceeded down to the Makino River which we crossed by the three-wire bridge put in by the army. We had lunch here and enjoyed the peace and quiet, not to mention the meal.
From here, it was all uphill – 2500ft of steep climbing with little or no respite at any stage. I reached the Mangaturutu Hut at 4.30, a little later than the rest and as I put my foot through the door I was told “We have made the decision for you, Ted, we are staying here the night”. I was so pleased, as at that stage I was feeling like something fresh out of a taxidermist.
After two good cuppas, everything came back to normal and we soon had our meals under way and then took part in discussions on differing topics like racism, chauvinism, birds and bees, sport and other club members, all highly enlightening. Four of us trying to convert one to our way of thinking was good fun; ask Gordon. Lights out by 8.30 and it was pleasant to sleep with fairly heavy rain on the roof and being snug, warm and dry. We were up at 7am (Daylight Saving Time) had a quick break¬fast and did a clean-up of the hut.
Gordon and I started to fall apart at morning ablutions, as he was cleaning his false teeth and I was washing my glass eye.
We were away by ten past eight and dropped down rather steeply before beginning the climb up to Tira Lodge, which we made in one and a half hours. John left us here and carried on to Rocks Ahead while we had a leisurely cuppa and then set off at 10.10 climbing out onto the tops and along to Whetu. The cloud was heavy and it was difficult to get bearings. We dropped down off Whetu and after some back-tracking and general discussion, we finally found the waratah standard which took us down Camp Spur.
We stopped at the bush line for lunch and then on down to Middle Hill Hut and finally the drop down to Pinks Hut. After about three hours with your toes jammed into the front of your boots, it was so pleasant to take them off and let your ‘pinkies’ straighten out again.
Well, our trip didn’t end here! Murray found the steering in his car was light, and it turned out to be a flat tyre; but a good efficient piece of work had the tyre changed and the car reloaded and away in 2 min 28 secs. Next came the crowning effort of the weekend as Murray had a close encounter of the worst kind. On a wet slippery road, our vehicle failed to take a corner and we all sat very still as we slithered across the road, through the long grass and then demolished two fence posts, all in slow motion. Murray’s comment on impact was “Oops, sorry chaps”.
With the help of a passing truck driver, we got the car back onto the road, straightened the mudguard and bumper and then headed for home.
To finish, when we dropped Ray off, we had to push-start the car!
Altogether a very enjoyable and eventful weekend; I enjoyed every minute of the trip, great company, terrific country and as soon as the pain disappears, I’ll be out again.
Members: Ray Slavin, Gordon Tapp, Murray White, (To Tira Lodge), John Marshall (to Rocks Ahead) and Ted Groves (reporter)