Te Iringa, Kaimanawa FP, Saturday 18 November 2017
Seven of us left Napier on a wet Saturday in two cars for a journey of just under and hour and a half to Tahaura Road off the Napier-Taupo road. It wasn’t far along the road here that the rain eased and by the time we had turned onto Clements Road, it had stopped. Luckily for us, the road must have been graded so those potholes that had dogged the group six weeks earlier had gone.
A few cars greeted us at the car park at the beginning of the track. The occupants of one were there having spent some time walking the track then staying overnight in the car park. The rest of the cars mostly belonged to hunters whom we met along the track. None of them were having any luck, but there was plenty of deer evidence.To begin with, the clearly defined track takes you on a bit of a climb through some very mature bush. It’s in good condition, being not too dry and not too wet and muddy. But later it gets a bit hairy in places where you have to negotiate rocky outcrops. None of us struggled.
Morning tea was had at the site of Te Iringa Hut, where we were joined by a young guy who was cooking up what looked more like dinner. From our morning tea spot, we continued on in very mature bush of matai and beech trees, the understorey being made up of mountain cabbage trees, pepper trees and ferns. The bush looks very soft, thanks to the mosses and lichens which literally cover everything.Our next stop was to admire the view across to Ruapehu. It was here that Jude decided to head back to avoid the dreaded cramp. Not far from where she left us, and coming around a corner, Mandy spotted a morepork in a tree a few metres ahead of us. Those of us who had never seen a morepork, let alone one in the wild, were just blown away. We stopped for a while, staring at it and taking photos. Yvonne has a really good camera, so she went even closer to get some great shots.
The higher we climbed, the more extreme the wind became – and colder. We began to notice more branches, big and small, on the track. One fell a couple of feet in front of me and I was heard muttering “the sky is falling” but nobody was keen to go and tell the king!We decided, after looking at the maps on and off phones, we’d head down to a stream for lunch as we would probably make it there round 12.30 – a good time. It seems this is a popular eating stop, with the remnants of a fire which included quite a lot of half-burnt plastic and rubbish. To add to the mess, there was litter left in a hole in a tree. Surely this wasn’t trampers?
Once lunch was finished, we straightaway had to climb up steeply up from the stream. On one of the following uphills, we met three guys mountain biking and hoping to make it to Omarau Hut. It didn’t really seem like an easy ride but they still had gas in the tank and were smiling. The wind was still blowing up on the top ridges and it was quite cold, so it was good to reach the downhill stretch towards the end of the track.
We caught up with Jude back at the car and decided not to have a stop on the way back to Napier. So we were back in town just before 4 o’clock.
Trampers: Yvonne, Jude, Rosemary, John , Juliet, Mandy and reporter Marie