Mackintosh Hut, Kaweka FP, Saturday 31 July 2021. Map: BJ37
Banner Photo: Morning tea time at Mackintosh Hut
Eleven keen trampers gathered at Park Island which was cloaked in a chilly fog. Luckily for us, as we neared the Lakes car park, that fog had lifted and there was no wind. The day promised to be a sunny one. There was much discussion about which way the track should be tackled – having dry feet for most of the trip was the deciding factor. Another consideration was the best place to park the van – should we start or finish with the uphill road? Alison took the initiative and parked at the tramp end. While we scanned the “You are here” indicator on the information board to see where our day’s walking would take us, John issued a challenge to deal to any wilding pines that crossed our paths.
We headed out, doing the 20-minute stint on the access road to start the tramp at the Mackintosh car park. This uphill road beginning was enough to ease us into the tramp, warm our muscles and was not too strenuous to hinder conversations.The bush was dry underfoot and dished up a mix of vegetation including mature kanuka, pines and beeches. Our group provided a palette of colour, weaving its way along the variegated green backdrop. Ice crystals crunched underfoot in the shaded areas at higher points of the track. The track took us down and then up as if we were traversing the back of an ancient serpent. In steep places, the chatter dried up as trampers focused on using their breath wisely.
Sadly, there was little sign of birdlife, perhaps because there was plenty of evidence of possum and deer activity. A flume of smoke that wiggled skyward from the chimney was a welcome signal to the Mackintosh Hut. Sunshine warmed us while we had morning tea on the hut’s veranda.
Heading on the ‘low track’, we were locked in the bush where sunny spots to stop were few. So, we moved to the edge of a ravine to take in the views while we enjoyed our sandwiches. The draw of the views was not strong enough to keep us settled in for a long lunch. The chill factor out of the sun and the changing weather forced us to don another layer of clothing and keep moving.Highlights of the day included the dappled light filtering through the beech forest; the solitary miromiro/tomtit that made an appearance along the track; completing the circuit; the ‘wet feet at the end of the tramp’ decision; wrenching up many wilding pines; and enjoying the company.
On return to Park Island’s car park, the group realised we’d been in the best place weatherwise because Napier was still in the grip of that very chilly sea fog we had experienced at the start of the day.
Alison won the gold medal, for the day’s best decision. Her strategic parking of the van at the end of the tramp was much appreciated by those wearied after completing this undulating Kaweka tramp.
Trampers: Shona Tupe, Rosemary Jeffery, Alison Greer, Campbell Living, Di Reid, Johanne Karlsson, John Dobbs, Juliet Gillick, Amber Cooper, Ted Angove, Kate Fuller and reporter Margaret Palmer