Wharite Peak, Southern Ruahine Range, Wednesday May 8
It looked like it was going to be third time lucky for some of us reaching the communications tower atop Wharite Peak. The day dawned cool, crisp and cloudless and after a good trip south, we started along the pretty Coppermine Stream track just before 9.30am.
Twenty minutes later, we reached the turn-off and started up the steep slippery track typical of the Ruahines. Beautiful lush bush, ferns, trees that lean sideways and a rata in flower lined the way. The track levels, then climbs again through corridors of horopito giving way to leatherwood. Glimpses of the tower can be seen, giving false hope of “soon being there” as the track climbs, weaves, and drops over little peaks and saddles.
It was a bit muddy and slippery in places as the leatherwood corridor seems to lead you on a merry chase then finally, after one more short climb, the trig is reached and we are at the base of the tower.
Lunch was at the picnic table looking over the Manawatu, the wind farms along the Tararuas, and being entertained by watching the men up the tower doing maintenance. There was a cool breeze so we didn’t linger too long, then made our way back, arriving at the car park just before 3.30pm.
Another box ticked, finally.
Trampers: John Marshall, Vic Bullock, Ken Ross, Peter Slagter, Paul Exeter, John Burrell, Robyn Smith, Hilary-Heath Caldwell, Dennis Mitchell, Tony Pluymers and reporter Alison Greer