Ruahine Range Waitangi Weekend 2018

Ruahine Range Waitangi Weekend 2018

Club members took the Monday off to make it a four day weekend. We all travelled up on the Friday and meet at the Mangaweka camp ground. Then up early on the Saturday morning to head inland to Mokai Station. From Mokai, east of Mangaweka Julie, Nigel, Jason, Clint and Sandra started their ascent across farmland. During the climb we encountered, plenty of Microtis orchids in the grass, and great views. A sidle below the Mokai Patea range high point took us to a saddle and the Forest Park boundary. A steep descent through beech forest and we arrived at Iron Bark hut for lunch. (Thanks to Mokai Station for access across their land).
At this point our tramping party split into two groups.

Group 1 continued to Colenso Hut for the night. We arrived at Colenso hut after a short side walk to look at Lake Colenso. Two of the party went to check and reset all the stoat traps around the lake after we had had a brew. On the Sunday we were up early as the hunter headed out for an early morning hunt. Clint left us here to head home as he couldn’t get the Monday off. Julie and Jason then walked down stream to the confluence of Mangatera River where we then headed up stream till we meet the turn off to the Potae River track. On the way two whio were seen basking in the morning sun. Great views were had at the highest point Patae all around to Mt Ruapahu, to the west and around the Ruahine range to the east and south. We soon arrived at Ruahine Corner hut where we were to stay for the night. A nice relaxing afternoon exploring the Alpine Tundra and soaking up the sun. Two other parties arrived that night from different parts of the Ruahine range but they had started on the East side of the range. Monday morning we were up early as we wanted to beat the forecast low cloud and possible rain as we were off track navigating to Ohutu Ridge via a few deep Georges and some very steep country and some beautiful streams. Once on Ohutu ridge it was plain sailing all the way back along the ridge till we started the steep or was it vertical drop down into Whakaurakou River it became a bit of a bush bash due to the heavy snow fall in the winter which brought down lots of trees which made it hard going. Once down a short walk upstream to meet up with the others waiting at Iron Bark hut.

Group 2 spent the remainder of the day and first night at Iron Bark. We collected firewood for the hut, talked tramping with 7 others from Parawai tramping club. On Sunday we used the two footbridges to cross the Maropea and Unknown streams then started our ascent and walk to Colenso hut. The track was steep to start with then levelled out. There was plenty of scratchy small tree falls and ongaonga. We descended past a slip into the Mangatera river valley. A short walk through grassy boggy areas and bush noisy with rifleman got us to Colenso hut. A lovely sunny afternoon at the hut was had, exploring the lake and bird life, looking for whio. We chatted to the Parawai club members who visited on their way to the Unknown campsite, and two others at the hut (who were checking the stoat traps protecting the whio).
On the third day, group 2 returned to Iron Bark hut, we had a great view of a morepork sitting quietly in a tree and morning tea in the sun at the top of the hill. After a quick swim in a beautiful green pool we rested up until group 1 arrived.

On Waitangi day the 4 of us were up and packed and off to the road end. 75 minutes up the hill through the beech forest returned us to the Forest Park boundary. Light drizzle and a cold breeze awaited us as we re-traced our steps across the farmland and back to the carpark.
Birds we saw or heard on the trip. Kereru, rifleman, whio/blue duck, grey warbler, tomtit, shag, falcon, scaup, whitehead, waxeye, morepork, bellbird, tui.
Trees/plants of interest: Mountain cedar, Ongaonga, bush lawyer, Dactylanthus, orchids (sun, potato, greenhood)

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