Daphne Hut, Ruahine FP, Saturday 18 November 2023
Banner Photo: Lunch break inside Daphne Hut
With rain forecast in the Ruahines – starting Saturday after lunch then getting heavier on Sunday – it was thought wisest to cancel the overnighter for Howletts Hut and concentrate on the day tramp to Daphne Hut instead.
Campbell kindly picked up the van on Friday and drove us there and back on the Saturday. Seven left in the van from Park Island, picked up Barry at Maraekakaho and drove on to Kashmir Road. After about an hour on the road, we needed wipers on almost constantly, which was somewhat worrying.
Just past the Kashmir farm turn-off, we came across a car that was backing down the road. The driver told Campbell that he had tried to get up the hill but the car kept slipping so he was reversing to the farm gate to turn around. So we had to back out first to let him through and congrats to Campbell for getting around corners without putting us in the ditch!
We sat parked on the verge for a few minutes, debating whether to just leave the van there and add 40 minutes to our walk-time before even starting the tramp. In the end, we left the decision to the driver.
Campbell gave it a go. Fortunately, with the extra weight of the van and its rear wheel drive, the top of the hill was reached in no time. From there it was straightforward apart from numerous potholes over the rest of the route. We arrived at the car park and began the walk about 9am. Luckily the rain had ceased just as we started, which made it much more enjoyable.
After 1.5 hours of fairly intense uphill climbing, shedding various layers as we climbed, we reached the turn-off to Longview. We had morning tea there and Phil took the opportunity to try taking a group photo with his new camera which was supposed to react to voice commands. But the group’s chatter confused it and he went back to old technology: pressing the button.
On this leg of the trip, we had the first mislaid object. A walking pole bottom section got pulled out from the pole and left behind without the user noticing until they went to place it in the ground again. Eagle eyes found it on back-tracking quite a few metres.
We arrived down at the river after about an hour from the junction. The river had clearly changed the layout of the banks during the cyclone, but it wasn’t too difficult to make our way upstream. The water was at reasonable levels so we made good progress and did not have to link up for any crossings. The rain started again as we walked through the river and we were all glad to see the hut so we could have shelter for lunch on our arrival – about 12.30pm.
Leaving the shelter of the hut after a reasonably long lunch break, we made our way back over the same route. The speedsters (Barry and Campbell) just disappeared from the rest of the group once we were all safely back on track after getting out of the river. The rest made our way more slowly up the hill.
Just past the junction, Elly found the second misplaced item. The gazelles had obviously got so hot getting up the hill that a jacket was discarded and somehow not picked up. Back at the van, Barry was greatly relieved to be reunited with his jacket – but more importantly with his cellphone in the pocket!
It was quite good that we got back to the van in stages as there was only room at the little shelter in the car park for two people at a time to discard their wet gear and change into dry clothes for the trip home.
We left at 4.45pm and got back to Napier about 6.30. It was a very enjoyable day and we were very lucky with the weather. The rain held off until the afternoon and even then it wasn’t too heavy.
One tramper’s gadget indicated we had climbed 1246 metres over the day. It seemed a lot, knowing that the car park was already above 500 metres – but after some quick calculations it seemed reasonably accurate as there are a number of ups and downs between the car park and the hut (which is at about the same level as the car park). Nice to have an excuse for the tired legs.
Trampers: Campbell Living, Shona Tupe, Elly Govers, Gerard van de Ven, Barry Doak, Phil Merson, Tarah Carpenter and reporter Juliet Gillick