Upper Te Hoe Hut, Whirinaki Forest Park. Sat/Sun 21/22 May, 2022. Map: BG38
Banner Photo: Getting ready to leave on Sunday morning
Eight of us met just after 7am at Eskdale Church. I was heading off on my first overnight tramp with the club. Near the new wind power site, we caught a glimpse of the first snow of the year on the Kawekas. Just past the Waipunga Falls, we turned right and headed inland. It takes about an hour to reach the Pukahunui car park. The last section of road required skilful driving by Alison and Simon.
We started walking at 9.30am, and the temperature was 4 degrees, and overcast. Shortly I noticed what looked like an upside-down turtle. Unfortunately one of our group had slipped over trying to get up a large step. And it wasn’t to be the last time they fell over on the wet thus slippery, overgrown track. The pig fern was up to the waist in some places, and the track was barely discernible. Those wearing hiking pants did not feel the scratches it caused, compared to Alison and Julia who hiked in their shorts.
Another feature of this track is the bush lawyer (tātarāmoa or rubus dissiodes), which is everywhere, and had to be dodged.
About mid-afternoon, we made it to Upper Te Hoe Hut after passing through some spectacular-looking bush, including mountain cabbage trees and many large beech trees.
Julia had the hut nice and warm for us slower trampers, which was great as it had been a cold day. It was decided that no one would be tenting that night. I set to with the axe on some big chunks of wood kindly left to dry in the woodshed. A cosy and warm night inside.
Next day, after an early breakfast, it was reported there had been a very noisy rodent (identified as Simon) rustling about all night in one of the bunks, which we all had a laugh about.
Packed up and ready to return, we popped down to the Te Hoe River to look at the impressive one-person-at-a-time bridge. It looked like it could take more than one at a time but we dared not try it out.
It was a smooth walk back over the hill to the car park, with a lunch break near a trig at the highpoint 1192m. Much warmer than yesterday, and with even some wintry sunshine.
Thanks for the great weekend and to Simon and Alison for getting us there and back safely.
Trampers: Alison Greer, Fiona Bryant, Juliet Gillick, Simon Hill, Anne Blackwell, Julia Mackie, Gaye Gasser and reporter Campbell Living