Wednesday, May 9 2018. Kaweka FP, Map: BJ37
Photos: Marie Deroles
Two vans and 19 trampers headed for Taihape Road with our destination being Mackintosh car park. An unusual sight for the Taihape Road were two sets of traffic lights operating around road works and bridge strengthening.
Thirteen trampers headed off for the round trip (having been told that there was no turning back, because the vans were being moved to the other end). The other six spent time going in various directions at the Lawrence Road end.Typically with most tramps in this area, there is no warming into it as it was down, down, down to the Tutaekuri River and across a well-constructed bridge (the trampers of old would remember a three-wire bridge). Taking our time, everyone climbed up to the plateau and along to Mackintosh Hut, watching out for very slippery clay pans along the way.
Mackintosh Hut was our re-grouping point and a sunny spot for morning tea, but it was soon time to head off again down Mackintosh Spur. It was an enjoyable walk along the flats (this area could do with a few more cairns) and before dropping down to the Donald River we had our lunch break. Ted commented on the amount of deer sign in this area. And sorry, Paul, your friend the pinus contorta is still abundant. It’s amazing how the memory can grow dim about what lies ahead; the terrain was steep and hard on the knees – well, for some anyway!In one of the flatter areas, we heard a throaty noise and there sunbathing on the track (dicing with danger) was a beautiful vibrant-green gecko with a blue/purple edging around its mouth. It made a really loud noise and indicated it wanted us to leave but in the end decided to head off into the scrub. There were some beautiful areas of lush, knee-high green ferns, giving the area a soft look. Once at the Donald River, we crossed in clear water and about calf deep. At this point, some decided on taking the river route back to the Lawrence bridge over the Tutaekuri River, while the real trampers climbed up to the Lotkow-Lawrence turn-off before heading down to the bridge. The bridge is long and marked for one at a time when crossing. It leads to a steep walk up the road to finish the day, so everyone arrived in dribs and drabs.
Thanks to those who moved the vans to make this round trip possible. Thanks to Alison for getting 13 trampers back to the vans safely. On the way home, the older members reminisced on the days when we could tramp the The Lizard, Mt Kohinga (Bonny Mary) and Miroroa (Cattle Hill) – all looking overgrown now.
Trampers: Alison Greer, Dorothy Sole, Kelvin Shaw, Marie Deroles, Paul Exeter, Sue Marshall, Ted Angove, John Marshall, Tony Pluymers, Bruce Hodgson, John Bennett, John Burrell, Barrie Ridler, Vic Bullock, Juliet Gillick, Simon Hill, Keith James, Murray White and reporter Denise Payne