North Ohau Hut – medium trip Wednesday
January 14, 2015
Wellington’s sizzling summer continues, and what a great day for a water trip – no wind and a curtain of cloud to keep us cool until we reached the river.
The Ohau road end was remarkably busy with other trampers when we left at 9 a.m. to cross the fields to the bush entrance. My last visit to the then-new North Ohau Hut was 2007, so I was interested to observe any changes and there were quite a few, notably slips. The sidle track through to the forks has many new slips, including one that is precipitous, and the big corner that descended to the Ohau opposite the fork with the North Oahu (and was also a take-off point for an off-track route to Gable End Ridge) is now just a memory. We continued sidling for another five minutes before dropping on a new bit of track to the South Ohau, then had to backtrack downstream past Deception Spur to enter the North Ohau.
Only 100 metres up the North Ohau is a massive, very recent slip – possibly in the heavy rain on New Year’s Day. All the way up, the river has become more gorgey with recovering slips. Dave Reynolds, who was also on the 2007 trip, commented that the pools are deeper and I would agree. Overall, the big pools were more stunning than a nuisance, and we never had to actually swim a section, although shorter members of our party were on tippy-toes at times. It was so hot, the more soaking the better and it was a treat to occasionally sit down accidentally. The river becomes easier to travel closer to the hut, with some on-land travel cutting off corners at times. In my head I decided the last stretch on the true right must surely rival the Garden of Eden for its velvety ground cover and stunning regenerating shrubbery.
On our return journey we let loose and flung ourselves into a pool for a swim. There had been so many tantalising long, deep stretches of super-clear water, it was such fun to really get in there. I personally could have stayed there all day, having multiple dips. But time was running on, and we did not arrive back at the cars until 5.30, somewhat over the designated length for a medium trip, but definitely worth getting home a bit later.
- Party members
- Janie Cook, Jim Gibbons, Helen Gray, Carol Kelly, Cheryl McDonald, Jan Nye, Marg Pearce (leader and scribe), Dave Reynolds, David Wanty