Leon Kinvig Hut, from Kashmir road-end.
Ruahine Forest Park, Map: BL36
Saturday/Sunday October 18/19, 2014
Two days of rain and seeing nothing but the inside of a cloud. That’s how it was when three of us went to Leon Kinvig Hut, via the Kashmir road-end.
My gear is now washed or out on the washing line, getting a good airing – a result of the hut’s terrible fireplace, but more about that later.We started up the newly benched zig zag track from Kashmir road-end. It then joins the old track about 100m up the ridge. Then, wow, they have recently scrub-cut the track, so there was all of the dying grass, but a track wide enough to be good for at least four years. This track was cut all the way through to the Leon Kinvig junction off the tops. Well done, DoC.
We dropped into Longview Hut, for a dry stop and a snack. We had met three hunters just above the hut, out for a morning shoot. Not sure if the deer liked the light drizzle we were experiencing.
Then onwards, past the tarn and looking for the Top Gorge unofficial track which is just past Rocky Knob. There is a lot of leatherwood, so finding the track would be helpful. A waratah, which is pulled out of the ground, and pointing in the direction downhill, could be the way to go. Next time I am there, I will take a GPS reading. Top Gorge Hut is on the minimal maintain list, and I have never been there so we will be putting it on our trip list early next year. It should be an easy summer day trip.
We carried on and, with a few ups and downs, arrived at the Makaretu Hut junction from the tops. By this time, we were all very wet, but at least it was not cold.
We stopped for a quick stand-up lunch and then carried on. Those long gentle climbs are taxing. Past the back door track down to Makaretu Hut, you are not far away from the top Apiti Track junction.
The track down to the hut, has not been cut for many years, and thus was a mission. I don’t know why they forget this track.The hut is situated on a bench just above the Pohongina River. The hut book refers to many sightings of whio. We did hear their call in the early evening, but were hut-bound due to the continual rain, which had got harder as the day wore on.
Thankfully the firewood box had enough in it, so we lit the fire in the early evening. The orange pad across the fireplace is placed to ensure there is an updraft. It has always been a smoky fireplace. The open chimney allows water straight down onto the hearth, which was damp. I feel an email to DoC coming on about this fireplace.
Still, Simon did his best, and with two girls directing him, he got it right.
We heard and saw Simon’s pictures of his recent trip to Japan. We will be asking him to speak at a club night, so he can share it with all of us.The next morning, after a night of constant rain, we climbed back up to the Apiti Track and made our way back to Longview Hut. We had lunch and a hot brew in the hut, before setting off down to the awaiting dry car and clothes. What a relief to be sitting in dry clothes again…
We decided that we were all mad to have come out on such a wet weekend, but we had survived, and it had been good to be out in the bush again.
Trampers: Alison Greer, Simon Hill and reporter Julia Mackie