Pinnacle Ridge

Pinnacle Ridge – Atiwhakatu Valley Trip Report April 7, 2019
With no small degree of determination, three Masterton Tramping Club members met at Holdsworth carpark at the respectable hour of 8am. All had been careful to reset their clocks and phones to NZ standard Time, some with relief that Daylight Saving was over for another year. The planned walk to Pinnacle high point of 877 metres, along the ridge to the end of the Atiwhakatu Valley, then return via the river track to the carpark was the fourth time scheduled as a trip. The forecast weather looked like this one too would be scuttled for a more favourable rough weather route. Instead, the day was clear and still with just a few misty clouds about the prominences of Girdlestone, McGregor and Holdsworth.
The grunty part of the walk is the 600 metre ascent over two kilometres to Pinnacle. Sandra led the way and it was not long before clothing preparatory for inclement weather was stashed in daypack or wrapped around waist. The ascending track skirts the top of a large slip at around 400 metres elevation, offering a good reason to stop for a breather. The views over the Atiwhakatu Stream and Donnelly Flats are delightful and are the only outlook offered until breaking the summit.
After two hours of walking the views from Pinnacle were enhanced by the presence of a pair of NZ Bellbird – Korimako – chiming out their unique song. The open top is exposed to northerly and westerly weather yet this day remained peacefully still and the temptation to linger was thwarted by thoughts of another five hours of walking yet to do.
The Pinnacle Ridge track is fairly straight forward although it is not marked on current Topo maps. In one sense it is downhill all the way with two minor saddles to ascend out of toward high points 862 and 846 respectively. Another hour of travel took us to the track sign that leads in steep descent to a crossing point just north of Atiwhakatu Hut. We pressed on through the ladder fern that threatens to obscure the track along broadening ridge. Just as hour four ticks by we emerge onto the Barton Track that, to the right, leads to Mitre Flats Hut. We are still at 700 metres elevation as we turn left, soon passing the Baldy Track turnoff, then steeply descending 100 metres to the swing bridge crossing the Atiwhakatu Stream.
The sky has clouded over and we expect that the forecast rain will arrive before we arrive at Atiwhakatu Hut. But it is time for lunch so, perching on riverbed boulders, we take in the ambience of this beautiful place, realising that where we are sitting would be engulfed within a torrent when the big rains come. Satisfied and refuelled we walk the trickier portion of track north of Atiwhakatu Hut arriving there to find a lone tramper enjoying a snack and cuppa having just arrived from an overnight stay at Jumbo Hut.
From here-on the familiar River Track descends 180 metres over seven kilometres. The stride lengthens and within an hour and a half we cross the bridge and make our way to Holdsworth Lodge to notate the DOC Intentions logbook that we have completed our walk.
The Pinnacle Ridge walk is graded by Masterton Tramping Club as ‘average plus’ fitness to take into account the longer ascent of Pinnacle as well as the seven hour day walking a little over 17 km. It is a very pleasant walk when the weather is favourable as it was this day. Apart from a very brief shower the rain that was forecast held off until we arrived in Masterton. 

Tukino Weekend – 24-26 May 2019

Tukino is a designated ski-field on the eastern slopes of Ruapehu. Masterton Tramping Club had booked accommodation with the Tukino Alpine Sports Club. The lodge is one of three at the base of the ski-field at about the 1700 metre contour. The intention of the weekend was to enjoy the unique
environment of New Zealand’s largest active volcano with its three high points exceeding 2700 metres.
Arriving after dark on Friday night the comforts of the lodge were readily noticed with the glowing warmth of the fireplace in the common room, a coal-fired boiler for water heating and gear drying, and a well-equipped kitchen capable of catering for groups of up to 40 people. But there was just
eight of us plus three from a TASC working party, which meant we could with clear conscience banish the snorers from our sleeping spaces knowing that they too could stay warm and cosy.
Saturday morning six of us ventured up the mountain toward Whangaehu Hut. With only patches of remnant snow between 1800 and 2000 metres elevation we had straightforward travel across the beginner’s ski-tow area, then up scree to the ridge that leads to Whangaehu Glacier. The day was
clear and pleasant as we made our way up to the point where one would descend to Whangaehu Hut. After an early lunch we traversed under the ‘Clock Tower’ to enjoy views of Te Heuheu (2755m), Tukino Peak and Mangatoetoenui Glacier. Patches of snow were icy and treacherous without ice axe and crampons so we stayed on a ridge looking in vain for fragments of a broken aircraft which remain on the mountain. Taking our time we enjoyed the walk back to the lodge, exploring various waterfalls the amazing rock features, and the upper ski-tow infrastructure.
The evening focussed around preparing a shared meal. It was around this time that the TASC personnel were notified of an incident on the Whangaehu Glacier involving a member of a climbing party who slipped on ice and fallen into a crevasse-like tunnel. So we were witness to the coming
and going of the rescue helicopter and the Ruapehu Alpine Rescue Organisation personnel. Preparing more food than was necessary for our needs proved a blessing to the rescued party. We were able to share our meal with them, and the TASC members ensured that they had a bunk for the night. The wind was expected to increase overnight so a lower elevation walk was chosen. Driving down to the intersection of the Round the Mountain Track five of us headed south for the well-marked 11.5 km round trip to Rangipo Hut. One of the highlights of walking across what might seem to be a waste land was the crossing of the Whangaehu River with its lahar-scoured sides that create a colourful canyon. Rangipo Hut, perched at 1560 m elevation, has bunking for 20 and lovely views to the East.
After pack-up and clean-up duties we drove back to Masterton each satisfied with the special experience that Ruapehu offered. Trip Leader Paul was accompanied by Ange, Denise, Graeme & 
Jann, Nigel, Sandra, and Thea.

Paekakariki Escarpment Track 12/5/2019

Stan, Thea and Sandra left Masterton and travelled via Pauatahanui Inlet to park at Pukerua Bay rail station. We headed north along the narrow track adjacent to the railway lone, slowly climbing the side of the hill. The weather was being very kind to us, some high cloud, bits of blue sky and not too windy. We zig-zagged up some short flights of stairs, continued north and then down into two gullies for the swing bridge crossings. Here the wind was a little blustery, funnelling up the gullies. We progressed along the side of the hill, up and down flights of stairs, stopping for morning tea next to a patch of kawakawa/kohekohe forest.
The kohekohe had large round fruit sticking out from their branches and tree trunks. Noisy birds were enjoying the forest. After another steep stairway climb, we reached the ‘lookout’ where we had lunch in the sun. With our great view of Kapiti Island to the north, we headed further along the track, slowly decreasing in altitude, more zig zags and eventually back to adjacent of the railway line. 
The next section of track had some different trees (whau), a lizard rock garden (with skinks) and more community planting. A short 1-minute shower of rain allowed a quick wear of the raincoats, including a new blue jacket for Stan. 
A hot cuppa was had at a busy Paekakariki café before catching the train back to Pukerua Bay. 
We saw approx. 30 people heading along the track in opposite direction

Mountain House Loop

On a sunny Sunday 10 club members walked the mountain house loop.  The consensus of the group was to walk up the Atakahtu valley to the loop track and go uphill from there.  We all got to the mountain house shelter and enjoyed an early lunch or morning tea for some.  We didn’t stop long as the wind was chilly.  We then made out way down the hill, stopping briefly at rocky lookout.  A great wee walk.

Mitre Flats Working Bee

Over The weekend of the 4&5th May, seven members of the Tramping club headed to Mitre Flats for a working bee. Jason Cheated and arrived the day before on the helicopter but had to unload two loads of firewood and start the cleaning before the others arrived on Saturday morning.
We all set about to clean and prepare the underside on the porch area around the two sides of the hut. We have now painted it white from the old flaking polyurethane and as you will see by the photos looks really good. When the temperature got to cold outside to paint some moved inside to paint underside of the bunks a dark green to colour to cover up all the graffiti. The new hut history sign and pin board were install on the hut. The tracks into and away from the hut were weed-eatered and the area around the hut also.
It was then onto the long three-course dinner which was a very good spread supplied by all. I am sure we all ate too much.
A slower start in the morning as we had other trampers sleeping in the hut. A great feed of bacon eggs and sausages on toast was available for everyone. Way too much food again!!! We will all be crawling out the track today.
This morning saw us apply the second coat of paint to both jobs as well as a number of hut maintenance jobs that were on the list to do.
After a quick lunch we packed up and headed back to the road end.
Another very successful working bee weekend at Mitre Flats.

Not the Raglan Ranges 12 – 16 March 2019

With the forecast for a lot of rain in the Nelson & Marlborough regions it seemed sensible to go somewhere different than our planned return to the Raglan Range. The Tararuas looked windy, but the
Kawekas were forecast to be fine and not much wind.
A look at maps showed what might be a suitable 4-5 day circuit, including Kaweka J, the highest point in the Kawekas (1724m), so a good spot to visit. After a longish drive we arrived at the Makahu Saddle road-end about 3pm, sort of ready for what we expected to be a 3-4 hour walk to Studholme
Saddle hut. The track was steep, even by Tararua standards, so it was slow going. Fortunately at around 1400m there was Dominie hut, a stand up 2 bunk hut, we all agreed it was a good place to stop for the night (Barry had the floor!)
Wednesday morning we woke to a gale shaking the hut, no hurry to go outside, but it did eventually ease off a bit and Barry suggested a day walk to the tops, we could always return if the wind was too bad. We made it to Kaweka J, past a memorial cairn to those from the Heretaunga Tramping Club who died in WW2, and north to North Kaweka where we found some shelter for a lunch stop, and time to enjoy the view over Hawke’s Bay. Then it was back to the hut, and a game of cards. That evening the forecast was for overnight gales, again, but easing early morning.
Thursday, we left about 9am with the wind easing rapidly, by the time we reached the tops (40 minutes) it was almost calm with some sunny patches. Thus the weather continued as we made our way north, the Kaweka tops are similar to the Ruahines rolling with not too many descents, once you
are up there! That night we stayed at the 4 bunk Ballard hut, along with a hunter from Whanganui and a solo tramper from Napier, Barry probably had the best sleep, outside under a fly.
Friday morning we woke inside a cloud, our hunter was expecting a “taxi” to fly in? Once again we left about 9am, starting with a steep 200m climb which warmed us up. It was still misty as we retraced our steps for the first hour or so, then we started our descent to Middle Hill hut. We were
soon out of the mist, and enjoying a rest in the sun, before entering the forest. This turned out to be a wonderful world of beech trees, moss, and a nice soft track covered in leaves, not a lot of birdlife though. We arrived at the hut mid-afternoon, and all to ourselves. So after a wash it was time to
relax and catch a few Z’s. That evening we heard a Kiwi, and Morepork.
Saturday, and home time, but not before a walk out to complete the loop. From the map it looked a bit like the Barra track with drops into streams and climb out again. The difference was that the descents lost much more height, some 100 to 200m, others only 50m. We were “over it” by the time
we reached the vehicle. On the way out I checked most of the 60 odd DOC200 traps which had been re-baited a few days beforehand and removed 4 rats and a stoat. In exchanging e-mails with DOC in
Napier they are experiencing an increase in rats recently, as we have been at Donnelly Flat.
A good trip, interesting country that none of us had been to before, not a place to be if it is wet and
windy.

Patuna Chasm – 17 March 2019

A very popular trip, I could have taken more than we had
pre-booked for.  With a few late drop
outs we ended up with 9.

The Masterton ladies all met at the normal meeting place and
headed down to Patuna Farm, just out of Martinborough.  Chris from Carterton met us at the farm.

We were transported to the start of the track and began our
walk.  First across farmland tracks, we
stopped at the wave cloud rock and had lunch. 
Then next was to tackle the track and ladder down in to the Chasm.   Then
we walked through the river and the magnificent chasm.  A wonderful trip, lots of photos taken,
enjoyed by all.

Robyn, Amy, Linda, Chris, LJ, MaryAnne, Amanda, Tia and Denise

Pencarrow Lighthouse – 9 April 2018

Last Sunday 9th April the club left the Tramping boots behind and traded them in for Bike Ride.
A cycle trip to Pencarrow lighthouse was always going to depend on good weather. Immaculate planning saw a wonderful day, if a bit breezy, but then it was Wellington.
Three members, plus a visitor drove down to Eastbourne, where we met a second visitor. A steady northerly gave us an easy ride down to the Pencarrow Lighthouses, so we decided to carry on to Baring Head lighthouse, past an optimistic surfer. On the approach to Baring Head there is a reasonably steep climb, which was greatly assisted by a significant tailwind. After lunch it was time to return, into what was now a strong headwind. On the return journey there were many more walkers and cyclists about, with a few cyclists walking for a while as everyone experienced strong gusts as we rounded each minor headland.

Blue Range Hut – 3 April 2018

Blue Range Hut
On Monday 3rd April John, Nigel and Jason popped up to Blue Range Hut which is about two hours walk uphill from the Kiriwhakapapa Road End. The mission was to dismantle the water tank and clean it out and return it to the tank stand. The reason for the cleaning was somebody had contaminated the water supply. We removed a large amount of soot and ash as well as AA Batteries and sardine tins and a lot of paper magazines which someone had dumped in their back in February. The water supply is now safe to drink after the rain this week. Some other jobs were undertaken while there. Then we had a great easy walk back down to the road end.

Combined MTC and SWTC track clearing – 27 March 2018

Monday 27th March 2018

Applied Tramping is a term which has been given to exercise where enjoying the view, companionship, and native flora and fauna, is supplemented with a specific purpose.
The Masterton and South Wairarapa Tramping Clubs occasionally organise a joint trip to encourage fellowship and to increase numbers participating.
One such recent trip was to the ridge line behind Featherston where a track leads from the end of Bucks Road, past the summit of Finis and the highest point, on this track, of Mt. Frith, and eventually to the Remutaka road summit.
For some years South Wairarapa Club members have been instrumental in trying to keep the track “open”, and it was with this in mind that on a recent Monday 5 members of from the Clubs set off to do some track clearing.
The main “culprit” needing to be cleared is gorse, gorse loves daylight, which is what you get when you clear an area of ground.
Why clear the track along the Finis-Frith ridge, well it is an official DOC track, has some unique views over the Wairarapa, and gives a good route for a day walk near Featherston.
And what of our day of applied tramping? Well we cut a lot of gorse, cut it, throw it into the air, and the westerly wind carries it away! We also collected a few gorse prickles in our fingers no matter how good your gloves, and, most important of all, had TWO breaks for a cup of tea!
If you are interested in helping on one of these infrequent trips please contact either of the Tramping Clubs.