Longview Hut, Rocky Knob, Daphne Track, Saturday December 5 2009
Trampers: Colin McNatty, John Gray, Ted Angove, Wade Sawyer, Murray McIndoe, Jude Paton, Geoff Donkin, John Dobbs, Roeland Pootjes, Matt Green and Julia Mackie
Awatere Hut, Black Stag Hut and up Makeretu Stream:
Trampers: Ray Slavin, Murray Goss, Paul Exeter and Colleen Pereaux
It had been raining for days, and the forecast for Saturday was for clearing weather. But as we drove down SH50, things did not look too good. Then a patch of blue, but it soon disappeared. We discussed the original trip plan for Makeretu Hut, via Longview Hut and the Ruahine Tops. The only snag would be the Makeretu Stream, which could be up and might be a problem. So we decided to head for Longview Hut, then Rocky knob and assess the day from there.
Everyone was briefed on our intentions, with two trampers deciding to go to Awatere Hut and beyond. Paul and Colleen would take it easy up to Longview and then review their plan.
We made short work of the climb up to Longview. The cloud swirled in and out. At one point, I could see the hut from below and then it was gone in cloud. Five hunters were overnighting in the hut, but were out hunting when we arrived for morning tea. We then made our way south to Rocky Knob which is exactly that. No views in any direction, and the air was full of moisture but not raining or drizzling. We admired all the tree stump forms along the track on the way back to the turnoff for the route across the tops to join the Daphne Track. The cloud cleared and we could see the farmland and even the car park down below.
With the marker for the entry into the bush in sight, we all hid among the tussock grass for lunch. The view towards the main range was tremendous. Then the weather did its contrary thing; it started to drizzle and the cloud came in and out again. Time to move. I was given the van keys and tasked to go ahead and bring the van back to the Daphne car park. The walk down through the bush was dark and I disturbed a few birds. Crown ferns galore… Then suddenly you are out of the bush walking down open grassland. The car park and road are clearly visible ahead.
From the Daphne car park, I walked on. A sign ‘Steep Grade, Use Lower Gear’ but this should be a piece of cake on foot. However, within two hundred yards of the van, I got a lift. Bliss… I drove the van carefully back to the waiting trampers who had only just arrived. We then returned back to the car park to wait for the Awatere trampers. Much jollity was had throughout the day and during this wait.
A final drink at the Tikokino pub, which has been revamped by the new owner. The prices are a bit steep, though – a bit like the final few hundred yards of the Kashmir Road. You had to dig deep.
It was a fun day and a good tramp. When is summer coming?