Sayer Hut and Totara Flat Hut MF
14 October 2015
13 of us met at the end of Mangaterere Stream Road. Despite warnings to the contrary, Warwick decided to take his large 4 wheel drive through the ford, only to hear some large crunching and graunching: he was a bit more circumspect on the return. Anyway, we all got our feet damp on the next crossing of the stream. The track up to bump 772 was clear, though rain the previous night had made the bottom part of the track quite damp and slippery.
After having left Wellington in bright sunshine, it was rather disappointing to have cloud and occasional drizzle in the Wairarapa. Once started uphill, the usual strip off of the extra layers soon occurred. The climb is reasonably steep over the first part (does that sound familiar for a Tararua tramp?), and then flattens off going through some beautiful bush of beech, rimu, totara etc., gradually getting more and more goblin-like towards the top. It was rug up for morning tea at the top, with David O faithfully recording a temperature of 5 degrees. Morning tea was thus not a leisurely affair.
Down the hill to Sayer Hut, on a really well-graded track that followed a surprisingly gentle spur. Much warmer down at the bottom, and after a brief look at the hut – in good condition – down to the river for lunch. My original intention had been to go up to Totara Flat Hut for lunch, but wise counsel from John Thomson prevailed, with warmish feet being preferable to cold and wet feet. The Waiohine had dropped considerably from the day before when the GWRC web-site showed the Waiohine at the Gorge had risen from an average of 10-20 cumecs to about 160 cumecs, but thankfully was dropping quickly the next morning – 1.45 am to be precise. At the time of crossing the reading was about 20 cumecs. For the novices like me this web-sites is extremely valuable for trip planning: just go the GWRC web-site and click on the River Data section. [By the way on 18 October the reading was over 560 cumecs.].
We all linked arms to cross the river, hopefully in approved style. Of course, just on completing the crossing, Peggy decided to slip on a rock, while Warwick decided to step over another and forgot to look up to see a nasty branch, but Peggy did not need to get out her first aid kit for the 3rd time in three tramps. John again showed his experience by suggesting that a few go on ahead to cross the long swing bridge, while others looked at the very impressive hut.
We went a little way up Totara Stream before crossing it and then finding a way up to the spur. Every so often the ‘track’ came back to meet us, usually after another windfall, and every so often we came across a marker put in by, yes, yet again, John Thomson, many years ago. Once on the ridge, it was pretty easy going back to the Sayer Hut track, with afternoon tea only having a slightly higher temperature. Seeing the Orongorongos in bright sunshine on our return did make us wonder whether we had taken the right route, but a thoroughly enjoyable day. The trip took about 7 and a half hours.
- Party members
- Joan Basher, Helen Beaglehole, Tony Black, Robin Chesterfield, Colin Cook, Tricia French, Peggy Munn, David Ogilvie, Bob Stephens (leader and scribe), John Thomson, Bill Wheeler, Lynne White, Warwick Wright