Akatarawa Saddle - Kapakapanui - Ngatiawa Road M
5 Sept. 2012
Fifteen people were expected on this trip. No excuse for a shuttle bungle on the part of the leader or her expert advisor, but suffice to say that one of the cars had to make two trips to get the party of twenty to the start of the walk at Akatarawa Saddle. Two cars had been parked at the end of Ngatiawa Road - one stashed full of end of trip gear and one to get drivers back to the saddle.
The walk along the 4-wheel drive road to point 822 took about 2.5 hours for most. The morning tea spot afforded a sneak peak of Kapiti Island from a surprising angle, and the leaderís baking was duly appreciated (itís getting heavy with these big numbers signing in!). We took lunch at 822, a saddle where the deeply rutted road continues down to Waiotauru Hut and a track takes off slightly south of east to Renata Hut. The hungry hares had almost finished lunch by the time the tortoises arrived and one hare expressed anxiety about the ability of one or two party members to complete the trip in daylight. There was a question about torches and a bit of angst from those wanting to be home in time for this or that, so the poor old tortoises found themselves hustled into a rather brief lunch break before they were off again, insufficiently rested
The route across to Kapakapanui also takes off from here, almost due north to start with. One unwell member of the party elected to turn back almost immediately and retrace her steps. The bush was lush and green, with lots of small stuff having fallen in recent times. The hares could have spent some time fruitfully clearing the track for the tortoises, but chose to stomp on through it and sun their silky coats on the eastern flank of Kapakapanui waiting for the slower group. Drivers were despatched from here for a quick trip down the planned route to the road end via the shorter, more westerly route.
Tortoises dragged their tired carapaces to the summit where there has been recent wholesale slaughter of the beautiful slivery Astelia nervosa that blanketed the top of Kapakapanui. It has been razed by weedeater, way beyond what might have been considered reasonable for safety. After a bit of exploration by those who hadnít been there before, the last of us took off downhill with renewed energy, taking about 2 hours for a 3-4 hour DOC estimation.
We were all away from the road end before 5.30, with plenty of daylight in hand - all up 7.5 hours. A good day was had by all in dry, mostly overcast conditions. For the most part the shuttle bungle had been forgiven, although someone was still grumbling on the way home!
- Party members
- David Castle, Marg Conal, Ken Fraser, Trish Gardiner-Smith, Paddy Gresham, Susan Guscott, Justin Kerr, Alan Knowles, Howard Larsen, Doreen Launder, David Ogilvie, Mary Perkins, Lynne Pomare (leader), Jennifer Roberts, John Thomson, Bill Wheeler, Rosemary Wilson, Alan Wright, Warwick Wright