Kiwi Saddle- Castle Camp- Kaiarahi Circuit, Saturday June 2 2012
It was a beautiful, frosty Hawke’s Bay morning and with the promise of a clear, calm day, it was decided to alter plans slightly, from Macintosh Hut to Kiwi Saddle Hut – taking advantage of the good conditions expected on the tops.
Arriving at the Lakes car park (this time from Castle Rock Road, because Kuripapango Road had been closed for logging), we were surprised to see members of the Hutt Valley Tramping Club who had camped out under a fly after arriving late on Friday night. Thick frost lay on the ground as the sun had not yet reached the car park; I imagine they’d had had a pretty cold night.
After an uneventful couple of hours, we all arrived at Kiwi Saddle Hut just before 11am. Here the group split, with five deciding we had enough time to push on and complete the round trip, and the rest walking on as far as a nice lunch spot and returning the same way.
It was a glorious day, although a slight breeze had sprung up from the west. There were wonderful views over to the central North Island mountains; we reckoned the weekend party that went to Waihohonu Hut would be having a fantastic day.
We had a short lunch break near Castle Camp and then tackled the last of the climbing, reaching Kaiarahi round 1pm. The wind was cool here so we didn’t linger, but still managed to take photos and gaze over the near all-round views. We meandered along the tops, reaching Rouge Ridge, said “goodbye” to the views and headed downhill.
Here, the track is starting to become overgrown with contorta in places and it needs some attention. There was still frost on the ground at the Tutaekuri River crossing then, after that final uphill, we arrived back at the van at 3.30. The trip was a first for two members of the group and everyone agreed it had been a fabulous day out.
Trampers: Rosemary Jeffery, Sue Titter, Murray Goss, Isobell Holdaway, Marc Marchal, Phil Enticott, John Marshall, Denise Payne, Sue Marshall and reporter Alison Greer