Ruahine Queen’s Birthday Trip
The Club’s 2011 Queen’s Birthday Lodge Trip saw 22 club members based at the Kawhatau Outdoor Education Centre, which covers about two ha near the meeting of the Kawhatua and Pourangaki Rivers, east of Mangaweka.
For our excellent, first time trip organiser, Karen Turner, the weekend also doubled up as a honeymoon for her and husband Mark – although we were very pleased to hear they were also off to Fiji in a few weeks time! Bob Cijffers once again did a sterling job as tramping organiser with a range of trips for E and E/M trampers into the Western side of the Ruahines.
On Saturday the E/M group of 9 took advantage of what was expected to be the best of the weekend weather and did a 6˝ hour trip, climbing up Dead Man’s Track to the bush line where we were greeted by howling winds as we made our way across the tussock clad tops with their hidden boggy holes and down to Rangiwahia Hut just below the bush line. Here we stopped for a late lunch, noting that the E party of 13 in the group, who walked up the Rangawahi River to the hut and back, had checked in, but with unseasonably warm temperatures there was no need to put on the hut’s gas heater.
Then it was a steep descent down through the bush with the Rangiwahia River to the right, crossing the arched bridge with its stomach-churning drop, before taking one of DOC’s more strenuous detours to avoid a major slip which had just occurred several years ago at the time of our Sixtus Lodge trip. The track continued above the river, through beech forest and back to the car park, ending a most enjoyable round trip.
Sunday turned out to be even better weatherwise so the E/M group, this time numbering 8, headed off across farm paddocks, following a poled route that climbed up very steeply. On reaching the bush we continued the climb up to Purity Hut, whose roof we had seen earlier glinting in the sunlight way above us. But the hut still lay two hours ahead, just above the bush line and above the site of its “quaint”, but apparently very dilapidated, predecessor. The new Purity Hut, with its double glazing and panoramic views with Ruapehu in the distance, must be a very welcome shelter for trampers seeking refuge from the Ruahines’ storms. Bob then had great plans to make it a round trip up passed Wooden Peg, but we persuaded him otherwise, and continued on up for another half hour to get the best of the views, before they rapidly disappeared in cloud while the valley beneath lay bathed in sunshine.
Then it was back to Purity Hut for lunch and a real test for ageing knees as we made the steep descent back the way we had come.
A great weekend was had by all and our thanks to Karen for her superb organisation (and the beautiful wedding cake!), and for coaxing us into a Las Vegas theme on the Saturday night, to Liz Martin for leading us all in song on her guitar on Sunday night, and to Bob for leading some excellent tramps once again. TW
- Party members
- Karen Turner (trip organiser), Bob Cijffers (tramping organiser), Catilina Bruce, Paul Bruce, Patrick Cuming, Julia Fraser, Alan Graham, Mark Jackson, Ann Johns, Brian Johns, Brian Landymore, Julia Landymore, Christine MacKenzie, Ray Markham, Liz Martin, Gloria McQueen, Robyn O’Shea, Helen Quinlan, Jennifer Roberts, Adrienne Vermeulen, Tricia Walbridge (Scribe), Ingrid Ward.