Makino Ridge to Middle Hill Hut, Saturday, October 18 2008. Map: U20
Trampers: Colin McNatty, Daniel Fraser, Murray Goss, Nicole Brown, Carol Finch, Alex Thomason, Garry Whincop, Denise Payne, Ali Hillington, Matt Green, John Russell and Alison Greer (reporter)
The day trip was very well camouflaged on the trip list as Makino to Middle Hill; but it soon became clear this was the infamous Three Gorge Trip.
It’s a gut-buster, straight upwards for the first 20 minutes. The track soon flattened out and it was time to take stock of the day and conditions. It was sunny and warm, with a strong breeze from the north-west, which led to discussions over whether the weekenders would make Ballards Hut.
The turn-off was reached in just over an hour and two members decided to continue on to Makino Hut to spend the day. The rest plunged down our first gorge, taking care on slippery roots and loose dirt. It’s a long way down, but seeing we had started from the Makino side, the first gorge is the biggest.
Crossing the stream at the bottom, it’s a couple of false climbs before starting the big one, which takes you to the next ridge. We all managed it in our own time and a well-deserved rest was taken looking out towards Whetu and back to Makino Ridge.
Moving on over ‘the flatter section’ of the track, the walking was easier – although this plateau of lovely beech forest is still littered with wind-fall, making you wind your way up, around and over fallen branches. The second and third main gorges do not appear to be as big as the first, but it was with sighs of relief that we all made it past the sign to Middle Hill and on to the hut.
As we sat lazing in the sun, a party of three wandered in, having come over from the Makahu car park; they were staying the night. One of them was known to us, so it was some time later before we finally got up and began the long trek down Middle Hill ridge to the car park.
We met Murray and Nicole at the bridge over the Mangatutunui stream and after a group photo stop, it was on to the last section and out to the cars. Everyone was very pleased with their efforts. One or two hadn’t been on this tramp before, but still that remark of “never again” was heard.