Howletts Hut – Ruahines, 28-29 January 1995
Banner Pix: Howletts hut and loo, looking south along Daphne Ridge to Taumatatua
Seven weekenders left Moorcock Saddle in anticipation of spending the night at the highest hut in the Ruahine range (1385m).
Humid temperatures and misty rain made it necessary to wear parkas so it was a sweaty but fairly quick climb to Longview. We took advantage of gas facilities in the hut and made a brew. Attention was drawn to the gas heater and immediate comments made re the “Rocket” at Panekiri Hut which was featured in the February Wilderness magazine – enough said!
Farewelled by the day party heading for the Tukituki River south arm, we were on our way into poor conditions, heads down but still plenty to see in the lush herbfields – drifts of white flowered celmisias, gentians beginning to flower, golden flowered Maori onions, sundews and of course the Spaniards on guard with their yellow and green spikes.
Mist to the left, mist to the right, map and compass was essential through the cairned area, but we picked up the poled route and arrived at Howletts at 4pm. We collected firewood and soon had a great fire going, nestled in for the night. The last time I was here was 1978, when 16 NTC members came to view Halley’s comet. It was raining then too.
Up early – and so were the blowflies at the loo – hundreds of them sun¬bathing on the iron door. Eyes and mouth shut, I fling open the door for the exodus. Great view from this perch, clear blue sky and below a sea of cloud, sort of like being on a plane. The sun inched its way above the cloud – a magical moment. I could hear the others out with their cameras to capture the spectacle.
The day looked promising, so all decided to return via yesterday’s route. We were away by 7.30, spending lots of time at the high points with map and compass, picking out ridges etc.
Slowly but surely, the cloud below banked up into the valleys and as we progressed over Taumatatua and along to Otumore, we were once again engulfed in mist. We stopped for lunch above Longview and then made a fairly rapid descent down to the cars for an early return home.
Trampers: Wally Shuker, Jane Howden, Paul Exeter, Sue Titter, Christine Jones, Ray Slavin and reporter Sue Andrew