Park’s Peak Hut, Ruahine FP, Wednesday 20 May, 2020
Banner Pix: Heading south across the undulating ridgeline
This was the first NTC tramp since lockdown. So we decided to forego the scheduled loop tramp up Golden Crown Ridge, and south along the tops to the Sentry Box track. Just a bit too far in the shorter winter hours, and we were needing a gentle restart back into tramping fitness.
So, a Parks Peak Hut and return tramp was just right for us all. The day was a blue-sky autumnal one, a crisp 8C according to the car’s temp gauge. We noted the sign to ‘Beware of the Bulls’, and headed up to the stile to cross into the track. The bulls were safely behind an electric fence.After ten minutes, you reach Sentry Box Hut, where we helped DoC (Meyer Levy) with some maintenance some years ago. The seat which Colin McNatty constructed is still standing. But no stopping now until I reach the top junction. My calves are groaning, but they just need more tramping to get them into condition. The first section up to the open scrub is steep, and through regenerating bush. This is followed by an open section before re-entering the bush. Views back down to the farmland and the Wakarara Range. My timing to the bushline is 35 minutes. The gradient eases off, and becomes a steady climb. The frost droplets from the trees and weak morning sunshine make the scene very beautiful. At the junction, it is south for Parks Peak Hut (posted as 30 mins). A little too cold to stop here, so after scratching an arrow on the track, keeping moving was the best option. The grass was frosty where the sun had not reached it. The track along the ridgeline offers occasional views of the main range to the west, and to Ruapehu.
We all eventually arrived at the hut, three having gone to the Pohatuhaha Trig (1368m) to get the 360-degree views. Taking the hut bench seats outside, we enjoyed the sunshine (there was a light chill breeze, though) and had our lunches. After the usual lively discussions, we headed back. Three others also decided to go to the trig; after all it is only 15 minutes from the junction. The rest of us took in the views again at the chair lookout.Heading on down, an eye on the ground was essential. But by now, all the muscles have had a good workout, so we can savour the good outdoor feelings.
We all agreed it was just right for the first club tramp since lockdown: great weather, views, company and a great track into the hills.
Trampers: John Dobbs, Elly Govers, Alison Greer, Sue Martin, Colin Jones, Ali Hollington, Juliet Gillick and reporter Julia Mackie