Kiwi Saddle Hut day trip
Saturday, May 21 2011. Map BJ37
A full van left for the Lakes car park and the trip up the Taihape Road was uneventful, now that it is tar-sealed for most of the way.
We made the steady climb up to the radio mast on Kuripaponga, with good views all around, including the lakes. We chatted to the three weekenders who were heading for Kiwi Mouth Hut, when they caught up to us having morning tea and admiring the views. We also stopped and chatted to two hunters who hadn’t had any luck and commented that the winds were extremely strong up there earlier in the morning. There was very little wind now.
As we climbed higher up the Smith Russell track, Ruapehu came into view but vanished in cloud soon after. We had a photo shoot on high point 1357m. Pinus Contorta is doing well in this area so we pulled as many out as we could along the way. At the high point junction, we parted with the weekenders who were heading along the Cameron track then cutting across that track about half way to head towards Kiwi Mouth.
Through small patches of snow, eight of us made our way down the steep decline to Kiwi Saddle Hut. Then the three lads decided to walk the circuit from the back of the hut on the Kiwi Mouth track and return on the track in the opposite direction from the weekenders.
The other five of us (lucky me, being the only male), walked out of the bush that surrounds the hut, to the track going to Castle Camp. We managed to get high enough to spot all the tracks, including Back Ridge where three more of our Napier trampers were walking from Makahu Saddle to Kiwi Mouth. We even spotted a lone person high on the ridge above Kiwi Saddle Hut. We assumed it was Gossy who, for some reason, had remained behind. But he never came down.
We walked back to the hut to get our packs, then found a warm spot to enjoy a long lunch.
After lunch, we headed back up that steep section and made the return trip back along the same tracks. At the Cameron track junction, we couldn’t see the three lads so made our way to the Lakes car park. The snow hadn’t melted, as it was still quite cool out of the sun. But there was none of the forecast rain.
We arrived at the car park at 3pm, where Gossy and John Marshall had already returned after doing their own thing for the day. It was only an hour’s wait before Paul Hendy, Matt and Marc returned. However, during this time the car park was a very busy place with cars pulling up, hunters destroying fresh animal footprints and what seemed like party goers. It kept us all entertained.
A great day out, with Julie doing very well on her first outing with our club.
Trampers: The Three Lads; Matt Green, Paul Hendy, Marc Marchal. Kiwi Saddle Hut trampers; Murray Goss, John Marshall, Sue Martin, Sue Titter, Rosemary Jeffery, Julie Briassc and Paul Exeter