Kaweka J, Kaweka FP, Wednesday 10th April, 2019.
Banner pix: Ted in the lead
Ted led the way to Kaweka J at a blistering pace that we did our best to chase. “Pay no heed to the screed” came the cry from the front. If the wind blows you off, just get up again and ignore the pain. It takes 80 years to get this attitude perfected.
In truth, we enjoyed a very controlled and safe ascent and descent of the range, but the loose scree and wind hazards were real. The weather was perfect and it was one of Hawke’s Bay’s best April days as nine of us were lucky enough to take the opportunity for this day out on the top of the Kaweka range.The tramp began from the Makahu Saddle car park with zero wind and a stunning blue sky. Our plan was to take the zig-zaggy, right-hand-side track up and stop at Dominie bivvy for morning tea (Trial Spur). We walked as a tight group, taking time to admire the views and identify land features. Fifteen minutes before the bivvy, the wind picked up, buffeting and unsettling us – particularly in places where sure footing was required near exposed scree slopes. Our confidence was knocked as we sought the bivvy refuge. After a short break, a snack and perhaps a little “peak fever”, we decided to push on and maybe turn back if conditions stayed the same or worsened. After 100 metres, two of our group wisely chose to return to the bivvy. Six others pushed on in toughening conditions, but the wind speed decreased to a point where we felt comfortable again and we arrived at the top with only a stiff breeze to contend with. The 360-degree views were great. We could see the shape of the Hawke’s Bay coast to the east and Ruapehu to the west. As we sat in a sheltered spot eating lunch, a falcon swooped past us at eye level. A very fast, very impressive sight. Our walk down required care on the steep scree. We picked up the two in the bivvy. By then, wind was no longer a problem, and we took the route above the Don River down for a variation to the zig-zag (Makahu Spur).
All in all, this was a good day’s tramp.
Ted did not suffer any major injuries on this walk. The blood was from superficial wounds only.
Trampers: Ted, Cherie, Lynnette, Jenny, Marie, Gordon, John Bennett, Vic and reporter Bruce