A rather soggy Labour weekend
Labour weekend, October 2006
Often ideas about tramping trips to particular locations have to remain just that, for a while anyway. My idea of travelling down the Otaki River from the vicinity of Te Matawai Hut to Waitewaewae will have to wait for some better weather. The forecasts prior to Labour weekend did not make good reading, but generally it looked as if it was possible to do a trip in the east of the Tararuas – away from the tops.
The trip was to go to Sayers Hut by a different route on Saturday, and then on Sunday, to do a day trip down the true left of the Waiohine to Walls Whare. We planned to return to Sayers Hut via the ridge to the east of the Waiohine River, returning to the road end on Monday. We decided on going to Sayers Hut via Carrington Spur, not the shortest but an interesting route. Carrington Spur has had a bit of a reputation as a navigational challenge, especially when descending. However it has now been marked with white markers and it appears that a route to the Gentle Anne Saddle may have been cleared, as we passed a sign to that effect at about S26 162299.
Carrington Spur is deceptively long but one which is also full of interest and has a reasonable descent into Carrington Stream. After lunch we started our ascent to bump 550m from a point about S26 159275. We were trying to locate the area between the bush and the scrub which would offer reasonable travel. We were too far south and encountered an unrelenting steep slip face which was marked with animal trails - some of which offered good travel for a short time. We were soon onto the ridge line and heading at a more gentle gradient for bumps 550m and 728m. Between these two bumps at about 600m there is another bump, which on a previous trip had caused a navigational walk around. By this stage, the dry windy weather of the morning had changed to wet and windy. On the way from bump 728 to the Sayers Hut turn off, we got a real blasting from the wild weather. As we descended to Sayers Hut we reminded ourselves of a previous trip when we had descended most of the spur in the dark. DoC have marked the track with orange triangles but it appears to lack conviction in the lower part of the track. Sayers is a Tararua gem, rather like Cone as both have open fires and both have a slab type construction. Unlike Cone, Sayers is not on a major track so it is visited less frequently. The hut was as expected - tidy and well stocked with wood. We were well equipped with a small saw and a small tomahawk so gathering and re-stocking posed few problems. A very tasty billy stew was a good end to an interesting day.
Overnight rain had little impact on Sayers creek. The Waiohine River was up but not as much as expected. We set off down the true left of the Waiohine, starting on the river bed but soon being forced onto a river terrace. We found some coloured tape marking a trail which we were able to follow until we reached Deep Creek.
By now it was raining much harder and we could see that the Waiohine had risen significantly. We had decided that pushing through sodden bush on the top of the ridge would have little appeal so returned at about Deep Creek. Previous day trips had investigated the true left bank from Walls Whare as far as Deep Creek where there was also a taped trail.
By Monday the rain had stopped but heavy overnight rain meant the Waiohine was running high. It was still possible to make our way down the true left to Totara Creek which we crossed using the little known river crossing technique of boulder hugging. Another easy crossing of Totara Creek and we were climbing the water course to join the main Holdsworth track. On our arrival at the caretakers place, we were invited in for afternoon tea of fresh hot scones. Well done Di and Chris.
- Party members
- Bill Allcock and Dave Reynolds