Mid Waiohine Hut – or Sayers Hut
20-21 August 2005
On Friday, the weather forecast for the weekend of 20-21 August was favourable for a trip over the tops to Mid Waiohine. Come Saturday as we tramped up the new Gentle Annie track, the wind velocity increased and a build-up of rather unfriendly cloud on the range signalled less than comfortable conditions on the tops.
Our discussion soon started to explore some other options and Sayers Hut seemed a rather intelligent and comfortable choice. Having arrived at Totara Creek Track the moment for a decision had arrived – and we opted for Sayers. The usually wet and slippery track to Totara Creek was as dry as I have seen it in mid summer.
At 143304 we started a gradual climb to bump 575 on a well worn foot pad which is now marked with large splashes of red paint on numerous trees. Once onto a broad Kamahi clad face there is a signifi cant change of direction and just a few discrete old blazes which probably date back to the Forest Service days. This face is easy when travelling south, but it can be a bit of a challenge when heading north.
The vicinity of bump 728 is marked by two white, neatly cut Venetian blind markers which mark a spur towards, but not to, Carrington Stream. At bump 768 a spur with a route on it from Totara Creek joins the main spur which continues south to bump 722 where the route from the Mangatarere Valley joins the main ridge just before the track descending to Sayers Hut.
The track down the spur to Sayers Hut is for the most part in good condition, the exception being the bottom section, which is not all that easy to follow, and is a real challenge at night. Once at our destination it was a real treat to sip tea while admiring some daffodils and being warmed by the sun – a bit different from the rain and strong wind still evident on the tops.
Now came the serious stuff of collecting fire wood. Sayers Creek proved to be a good source of tinder dry fire wood – enough for a comfortable night and plenty to build up the hut’s stock of firewood.
Sayers Hut is one of the well-maintained Tararua treasures – a spacious 6 bunk hut with a large open fi re. A traditional billy stew was a very appropriate meal, preceded by soup, and followed by one of Bill’s special desserts. On the customary stroll before retiring we were treated to a most impressive full moon in a very windy sky.
Our route to the Holdsworth Lodge road end next day was via the true left bank of the Waiohine River to 125279 where we located a good route onto the main ridge close to bump 768, and from which we travelled along the ridge to bump 728. From bump 728 we followed a marked route east to bump 550 and from here we headed south-east for a short distance before descending into Carrington Stream by following the bush margin. This route was good travel with no difficult vegetation and a friendly gradient. If time had permitted we had intended to go up the spur to the east of and adjacent to Carrington Spur. It’s there for a future trip. After a water stop and a bite to eat in Carrington Stream we made our way up Carrington Spur onto the old Gentle Annie Track and then back to the car via the new track.
- Bill Allcock and Dave Reynolds