Lower Kaweka circuit, Kaweka FP, Wednesday 10 May 2023
Banner Photo: The two large orange triangles on Kaiarahi stream
Yet another tramp day with rain in the forecast… with only seven, we left Park Island early to try to avoid the traffic congestion at the Meeanee expressway bridge.
From the Lakes car park, we wanted to check the lower Kaweka circuit to Mackintosh Hut. The previous week, we started at the Mackintosh end but only went so far, so we were keen this week to complete the through trip.
Armed with saws and secateurs, we set off, easily crossing the Tutaekuri to pick up the track on the other side. The next stream was more damaged with fallen trees, so we stopped to build cairns showing the crossing, and picked up the marked track a bit further upstream. The rest of the track up the stream is still intact, along with the climb up to the Kaweka hut site.
We took a breather and regrouped before tackling the next stream. It took a few minutes to find a way down the high scoured-out bank and to look around for a way up the other side. Looking downstream, we spotted orange triangles and were soon scrambling up the other side. It was about then that the heavy rain set in, a bit earlier than predicted, so it was a quick morning tea, then onwards, pleased that we had passed another obstacle.
From here the track was in good condition although very overgrown with young manuka and in need of cutting. The slip that has been there for a few years was still intact; only the streams have been eroded, some with high banks and in one instance very muddy, slippery sides, that need extra care.
The rain didn’t last long and after negotiating the Kaiarahi stream we found a sheltered spot, out of the wind, for lunch. I had been concerned about the state of the stream, but it wasn’t badly damaged and with the help of two new orange triangles was easy to cross.
The rest of the day was straightforward, the sun came out, the coats came off, although it was still windy. The only obstacle after leaving Mackintosh Hut (after filling out the hut book 😉 ) was a freshly fallen pine tree, so it was out with our saws, quickly clearing the track, pleased they were finally being put to use.
The final climb from the river to the car park is a necessary evil, but all managed it well. We arrived just before 3.30pm in another light shower of rain. Ted drove in a few minutes later from the Lakes car park, where he had walked partway to Kiwi Saddle, the strong wind stopping him going further.
It was a fun day out, lots of muddy shorts and dirty fingernails, but good to get round one of our regular tramping tracks. Thanks to John and Sue for driving their vehicles.
Trampers: John Dobbs, Ted Angove, Sue Gribble, Juliet Gillick, Andrea Hannah, Christine Briasco and reporter Alison Greer
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