The Pines - Mitre Flats Hut - North Mitre Stream Spur - Table Ridge - Mitre Flats Hut - The Pines
10-12 August 2001
After meeting Colin at his home by the appropriately marked lamppost in Wright Street, we set off in his car to pick up the three remaining members of the party; Yvonne and Tim from outside the dental school building in Willis Street and Sam from the Caltex service station at Brown Owl. Light traffic enabled us to arrive at the tea stop in Featherston at a reasonable hour. The proprietor had a small wager with the leader on the result of the New Zealand-Australia rugby test for a dollar a point, settlement day was nominated as Sunday. After a further stop in Masterton to collect the keys of the wardens quarters at Mitre Flats we were soon headed for the Pinesroad end.
The track to Mitre Flats is not the most desirable for an evening stroll since it is a rather slippery and rooty sidle track which in torch light is rather slow going. On arriving at the hut we soon had a brew on the go after which we retired for the evening.
By 7.30am we were on the way to North Mitre Stream and the spur on the true left of the stream which we intended following to Table Ridge. The objective for the day was to climb to Table Ridge and then over Brockett and Mitre and back to the hut. There is a good foot route up the spur which is easy to follow and is in part marked on a 1950 Tararua Forest Park map. Once out of the bush there is still a somewhat less obvious route to follow at times through some thick spiky leatherwood.
Nearing Table Ridge the ridge is narrower and more defined. The conditions on Table Ridge were not the most hospitable-cold wind with rain, almost sleet, and mist which lifted from time to time giving some tantalizing views of the North Mitre Basin and of Table Ridge but little beyond. As we set off along Table Ridge the sleet stopped so the conditions were more comfortable, but still no views. We had considered descending by way of Peggys Stream spur but there was not enough day light remaining for this to be a viable and safe option.
On our descent from Mitre the mist started to close in and light drizzle fell as we made our way through the bush. The test score: we needed to know the result so I rang my brother, a dedicated follower of the national game. The score was 10 to 5 to Australia, but before we could find out if that was the final score, reception was lost. Once at the hut we set about getting the fire going and preparing a pot luck stew which contained 1kg of venison mince together with the usual assortment of fresh vegetables - enough to fill a camp oven - to be followed by peaches and custard.
On Sunday Sam left early to investigate a route out via high point Blake, which he was able to complete in about three hours, about half an hour longer than the track. This is a good alternative to the sidle track and one that I will use next time I visit Mitre Flats hut. On the way back to Wellington we stopped for an ice cream at Featherstonís ice cream shop after collecting the proceeds of the leaderís successful wager with the fish and chip shop.
Party members were: Yvonne Ashworth, Colin Cook, Tim Stone, Sam Weeks and Dave Reynolds (leader and scribe).