Kiriwhakapapa - Rover's Hill - Blue Range Hut
28 November 1998
A forecast of strong south-easterlies and afternoon rain did not eventuate and this trip went ahead in dry, mild conditions.
We left the Kiriwhakapapa shelter at 9.16 and enjoyed a pleasant walk through the redwoods. The track follows Reef Creek for 15-20 minutes, then curves away. At this point, we left the track and descended gradually to the creek bed, then travelled upstream past some spectacular slips and boulders, to a marker at about 400m we had left two weeks previously on a recce.
Rover's Hill could be reached from almost any point along the stream; a previous group had left its own marker at an earlier point. I had chosen the most well-defined spur, which had an east-of-north orientation.
The climb up to Rover's Hill is a fair grunt, climbing steeply to 823, with a steep bump or two along the way. We had left a marker on the recce which we found easily, indicating the beginning of the spur which forms a saddle across to Blue Range Hut. We dropped about 60 metres and fortunately managed to keep on target this time, climbing up to just below 900 metres no the Blue Range in time for lunch at about 12.15.
The section of ridge to Blue Range Hut is 2-3 kms in thickening scrub and trees. We travelled in a generally southerly direction, first descending about 40 metres; one or two minor markers left by previous trippers were a pleasant reminder that we were going as planned. We had left our own marker at a point where the ridge changes direction and were pleased to find this without a hitch.
The final assault up to 978 had the party looking out for signs that we were close to the track. Mike was the intrepid scout, plunging into the dracophyllum, and, ignoring my insulting remarks that we were still short of the track, located said track in a couple of minutes.
We went back down the track for a short visit to Blue Range Hut - as ever bright blue, clean and, judging by the signs, well-equipped to handle a party of TTC members ('Psychiatric Clinic', 'Only two visitors per bed', etc.). We signed the book and left our TTC sticker.
Our return to the ridge and the track back down to Kiriwhakapapa went smoothly, with a stop at the giant rata and rimu. We arrived back at the cars at 4.17. Still not even a drop of rain.
Those on the trip were: Tim Stone, Robert Murray-Brown, Dave Reynolds, Glenys Evans, Gordon McKenzie, Mike Arnold and Margaret Conal (leader and scribe).