Ohau - Ohau Forks - Mayo Knob - Waiopehu Track
7 April 2001
Although this Saturday trip was classed as a medium, I knew from a reccie a month earlier and a trip in the area the previous year, that it was far more than a medium, in fact, would be harrowing for a medium party. So, I made the decision to cut out the section between Mayo Knob and the Waiopehu Track in my announcement at the club on the Tuesday.
There were only four members on the Saturday, four non-members having withdrawn during the week. Despite a damp forecast, it turned out to be a truly excellent crisp autumn morning with clear skies and not a breath of wind.
We had an easy walk up to the site of the old Ohau Shelter, then took the river route to the forks. Although there were signs of some rain the previous night, this unpredictable and, at times, turbulent river was very low, and travel up to the forks was absolutely delightful. There is a substantial stand of rimu right down to the water’s edge on one bend and some distinctive loose gravel terraces along the river (more noticeable around South Ohau hut further up).
The side route up to the main track is almost hidden in undergrowth just short of the forks, but we scrambled around and found it, and were at the base of the spur up to Mayo Knob in five minutes or so. A slip at the base of the spur spared us some of the struggle against an army of supplejack that would slow us down further up. Otherwise, the spur was mainly easy travel, although fairly steep. We were also lucky to see two tomtits and hear a tui, plus a variety of bird song that I could not identify. Unfortunately, Michael was not feeling very well with a digestive upset, so we elected to stop for lunch about 150 metres from Mayo Knob, as it was already 12.20.
Mayo Knob at 666m radiates neither beauty nor views, so, as members of the party all knew each other well and were happy to go a bit further up, we decided to take a side trip up to Gable End at 903. There is a descent, then a fairly steep climb, which took its toll on Michael who was not feeling well at all. He elected to stay back and urged the rest of us to go on. We got a reasonable view, clear towards the site of the Waiophu Hut but rather hazy to the west. (On a clear day, the views are spectacular.)
We met up with Michael again down at the shelter site, where he was enjoying the late afternoon sun. Another hour and we were back at the cars after a very pleasant seven-hour trip. (We could not help but notice how lush the pasture was around this area, despite the drought further south.)
The party consisted of all members: Masaki Kojima, Glenys Evans, Michael Bartlett and Marg Conal (leader and scribe).