Shutes Hut, Saturday November 20 2010. Maps: BJ37 / BK37
Trampers: Ted Angove, Sue Marshall, Marc Marchal and Ruth Packer
The bulk of our members took the opportunity to visit Kapiti Island for the weekend, so only four trampers were out for the day trip. We headed away in Ted’s van via Taihape Road and were slowed down slightly by large machinery working on the new sealing.
Felling was under way and it was very interesting to see a treeless landscape and the lay of the land revealing a mini ‘Mt Ngaururuhoe’ at Kuripapango up behind Robson Lodge. Masses of brilliant yellow flowering broom covered large sections of hillside down to the roadside.
We headed away from Comet Hut car park at 8.30; it was a great-looking day, although thunder storms were predicted for later on. During a steady climb, we pulled out any contorta that were within reach. Flowering plants were many…we spotted a clump of native violets, geraniums and celmesias. It was easy walking through cool archways of contorta and, in shady spots, crisp white clumps of flowering ourisia, and on through small stands of beech to a rocky outcrop where across the valley we could see the tops of the pines at Shutes Hut.
We dropped quickly down to the Taruarau River, passing flowering clematis, parsonia in bud, hooded green orchids and heaps of a spindly shrub with tiny white flower clusters and a fragrant heady perfume… helichrysum lanceolatum.
The river was deeper than expected – crutch depth… brrrr! Morning tea was brief, because the sandflies found our spot as well. The track from the river has not had a lot of traffic lately; it’s more of an animal track, overgrown with long grasses. We sidled around above the river, spotting more orchids, the little white thelymitra and a spectacular stand of cabbage trees in full flower.
Waist-height grasses greeted us we emerged at the hut site. There was no track, just long grass everywhere and nowhere to sit outside. Even the built-in seat was obliterated in the grass. The place looked neglected and unloved. The masses of lemon clematis that had grown abundantly over the felled pines in front of the hut were gone!
We checked out all the historic info in the hut then returned to the river, finding a nice spot for lunch above the water, overlooking a huge slip. Then it was back across the river and a humid uphill grind, along with numerous drinks, photographs and contorta pulling. We arrived back at the van around 3pm, pleased the showers had passed us by.
It had been a great day, but not quite for Ted; cramp hit him hard, but after ‘cramp stop’ under the tongue and good walk up the road, he finally came right, managing to return us all safely home.