Makahu Saddle to Middle Hill Hut, Kaweka FP, Saturday 7 September, 2019. Map: BJ37
Banner Pix: Kaweka Flats Bivvy
The weatherman said snow for Friday, snow for Sunday but fortunately knew we had a tramp on Saturday and the forecast was good. On arriving at Makahu Saddle our organiser Lynette confessed she had left the map at home. I did offer her a 1960s stick map which looked like lots of Pak ‘n Save men splattered over the page, but the smartphones and GPS units came out instead.
We waved goodbye to Alison, who had kindly offered to take the car around to Makahu Road. A chill wind greeted us but, once in the bush, the extra layers of clothing were being shed.
The first challenge was the Makahu River where, with some fancy dancing, everyone kept their feet dry. A bit further on, there is a short climb up a clay and gravel spur leading to a plateau. It did not take too long to reach Kaweka Flats bivvy, where we stopped for a snack.The track to Middle Hill involves a few deep gullies, despite reassurances from our leader that each climb was the last one. The first descent involved poor traction which slowed us down. The 260-metre climb back up was felt in the legs. Middle Hill Hut was a welcome sight to stop and have lunch. With two males and five females, the men and possibly the teenager present were privy to some female gossip. As the conversation degenerated to boobs and facelifts, John felt the best option was to lie back and try to fall asleep. Eventually we had to forget about lifting faces and other parts of our anatomy and lift the packs onto our backs.
The track from Middle Hill starts very flat, offering a nice stroll but Lynette decided it was a good place for trail running. She reneged when we hit the end of the spur which drops down steeply for 250 metres into the Mangatutunui stream. After that, Fiona continued the fast pace. I was stopped dead briefly with cramp.
Hannah had clearly been eating well at university because her feet had outgrown her boots and her toes suffered terribly going downhill; but she still managed to stumble to the road end a little bit later.
Alison, who had already been to Middle Hill Hut and back, was patiently waiting. She denied she was going so fast with the van that it started falling apart but the side door would not shut. The two males in the party then became useful and put it together again. By 4pm, we were on our way home after an enjoyable trip.
Trampers: Lynette Morgan, Rosemary Jeffery, Di Reid, Hannah Munro, Alison Greer, Fiona Chiverrell, John Bennett and reporter Colin Jones