Ruahine Tops – Saturday 2 July 2016
With a frosty start and no wind in the forecast, it would be great to be up on the tops today. As us five headed along the Mangleton Valley, the talk was about where we should start from – the Masters Shelter or Sentry Box? The temperature outside plummeted to -4 degrees, and with gorgeous early light, we decided it would be Masters Shelter and the Golden Crown Ridge.
The temperature had rocketed up to zero when we began, but with the climb virtually immediate and steady, we were soon removing a layer or more. There was a slight breeze now and brilliant views unfolding looking back across the Bay.A large tree that had blocked our track seven months ago was still intact, so no maintenance by DoC was apparent. Otherwise, it was all good heading up – but a definite wind now. In the upper reaches there was the first thin snowfall, then a steady layer when we reached the track junction. Would we walk north or south now? South got the nod, so we headed along the marshy tops admiring the lovely frozen puddles with their icy patterns. The periodic views out west to Ruapehu were terrific too but, boy, was the wind chilly.
Reaching the junction turnoff down to derelict Aranga Hut, it was approaching lunchtime so we found a sheltered spot in a hollow, but with the sun on our faces, for a quick lunch.
Then it was a matter of retracing our steps and catching up with the two Sues who had stopped for lunch a bit earlier.
Some slipped on icy patches on the way down Golden Crown and it always seems steeper on the descent than the ascent. But we were safely back at Masters Shelter by 2.45pm; that meant we had been out for 6.5 hours. The wind had dropped to nothing, but it was still pretty chilly.
There were five vehicles and a big family group at the shelter. They had a roaring barbeque and our arrival was perfectly timed – the steaks were coming off. These lovely people gave us some delicious beefy morsels to enjoy, so that was a pleasant way to end the trip.
On the way home, we called into the Chook and Filly and enjoyed more banter and hot coffees to comolete the outing. Wonder where everyone else was today?
Trampers: Alison Greer, Sue Martin, Sue Marshall, Juliet Gillick and reporter John Dobbs