Makahu Saddle Hut to Iron Whare, Kaweka FP, Wednesday 9 June 2021
Banner Photo: Iron Whare sitting on a ridgeline
Thirteen of us gathered at Park Island on a grey but surprisingly warm Wednesday.
Rain held off as we made a pleasant journey into the Kaweka Forest Park; Bruce drove his car and John was the van driver. Whittle Road was not too slippery and revealed only one good-sized pot-hole not far from the car park.
Just as we prepared to start our tramp the drizzle started but, undaunted, off we set – soon to be welcomed by the delicious fragrance of bacon cooking inside Makahu Saddle Hut. We managed to pass by without being tempted to join the chaps within.
The forest was looking magnificent; the drizzle and light mist seemed to enhance the colours and the height of the trees. We had to be careful with our footfalls as the track was very wet and slippery in many places; the tree roots in particular needed to be avoided.
After approximately and hour and a quarter, we reached Kaweka Flats Bivouac (Ted, Gordon and Tony tramped to the Makahu River and then headed back). Just prior to reaching the bivvy, John and Denise discovered a recently killed rat in trap number 44. John was very adept at freeing the corpse and re-setting the trap. We decided to head on to Iron Whare rather than stop for morning tea as the drizzle was not letting up. The lead party left an arrow to indicate to those following where we were heading.
The beech trees, leaf litter, fungi on old stumps and differing colours of the ground cover was so attractive you seemed to almost forget about the wet conditions. The river and stream crossings were very manageable and before we knew it we had reached the whare (about two hours tramping from the car park).
It was most welcome to sit inside, out of the drizzle and have our morning tea/lunch. The tui had to compete with the lovely sound of “Happy Birthday” from those inside as we sang to celebrate Elly’s birthday. The whare is positioned in a lovely section of bush and an added highlight (for those who had not experienced it before) was the delightful toilet just down the track.
Just as we prepared to head back, the drizzle eased, so we had a great walk back retracing our steps; the water flow in the river and streams had increased and looked magnificent when you looked down upon them (white water tumbling over the grey river rocks, with the green of the forest foliage). No problems crossing, thankfully. Bruce and John at trap number 39 removed the very decomposed remains of a possum; we all joined in celebrating this success at the bivvy before carrying on to the car park.
The drizzle started again just as we were changing for the journey home. We arrived back at Park Island at 4pm after what everyone agreed was a great day out. Many thanks to John and Bruce for their driving and special thanks again to John for his skills in removal of vermin and re-setting of traps.
Trampers: Margaret, Dorothy, Marie, Bruce, Elly, Gerard, Barry, Johanne, Gordon, John, Ted, Tony and reporter Denise