Trip Reports

MTC Ruapahu weekend 26-28th 2019

Seven members of the club left Masterton on the Friday bound for the winter wonderland in Ohakune. After everyone arrived a plan was sorted out and crampons sorted for the next day.
On the Saturday two members walked to Mangaehuehu Hut on the round the mountain track. The rest of us headed up into the snow on the Turoa side of the mountain. We slowly made our way up the mountain reaching the top of the ski area in two hours.
After a break and a feed we slowly made our way up. Two members headed to the summit up the leading ridge to reach the top at 2797m. The other three of us headed across the slope to the crater rim overlooking the creator lake at 2720m. The day was one out of the bag. There was not a breath of wind on the top and the snow conditions were some of the best you can get for cramponing up to the top. After lunch it was time for us all to head back down. After a short walk to the gentler slope we were able to bum slide down the mountain to the top of the ski area doing some selfaresting practice on the way down. What took just over two hours up took 15-20 min to get back down. We then wandered back down to the carpark. A view back up the mountain was still fantastic and we could all appreciate the hard 1190m climb to get to the top. Back to the house for showers and nibbles. We popped into town for dinner and back to watch the Rugby at the house.
Sunday we all packed up and headed around to Whakapapa to look at the new gondola and have a we walk around the snow there and some headed home while others went for a short walk to Taranaki falls.
Another great winter trip to Ruapahu.

Masterton Town walk July 7 2019

We met at the Church Street car park. Some expected to take a car to where the walk was to start, something we normally do, but not today.
With the sun shining, but not giving much heat, we were well wrapped up as we walked through Queen Elizabeth Park, alongside the Waipoua river and over the road into the Henley Lake reserve. We zigzagged through the many paths, stopping for at least one group photo. After Henley lake it was a street walk up Gordon Street, take the path through to Kitchener, then Manuka and Tankersley Streets where we only go a little geographically misplaced before we found the Manuka Reserve, full of native trees and growing well.
Leaving the reserve the sun was warm enough that a few coats, hats and gloves came off. Then it was down through Milford Downs and follow the path along past Hansells and along to 4th Street. Being a nice sunny day we were not the only walkers, with many group members meeting friends along the way. By now we could almost smell the coffee at Dish café in Lansdowne, which is where the tour ended, about 3 hours after leaving the vehicles. There is no need to report on further events and what everyone ate.
Those on the trip: Paul & Thea, Denise, Robyn, Janet, Laura, Viv & Ron, Laura & Mike, Viv (another) and Nigel.

Mt Kaukau 30 June 2019

On an amazing calm and sunny morning, 9 of us left Masterton and headed over the Remutaka Hill to Wellington. We navigated through the suburbs to find one of the many car-parks to climb the hill.
The busy car park indicated that the track may be busy! We threaded our way up the hill through beautiful native bush lots of kawakawa, tui and kereru. Sporadically there were clearings with ever increasing great views of the city and harbour. Eventually the steps levelled out, we crossed a stile, and pushed up the last hill to the viewing platform. The light breeze was enough for us to put on jackets and wool hats as we studied the expansive views.
After a quick snack, we walked west to the trig, counted the windmills and took more photos.
Returning to the main tower, we headed downhill to complete our loop. In a grassy patch with views of the harbour, we stopped for lunch, a quiz and discussion about future tramps. Back on the track we headed back down steps, through pine trees and past the kids park to return to our start point.
Todays trampers were; Stan, Viv, Ron, Desiree, Denise, Thea, Paul, Christine and Sandra

Blue Range Hut June 23 – 2019

The weather forecast was confusing, Metservice said rain would start in the afternoon, YR said onlydrizzle, but from 10am. 1-0 to Norway!
Five of us, and a dog, left Masterton at 8am, meeting Liat and her dog at the road end. It was cloudy and very dark under the canopy as we made our way along and up the hill, the way it was muddy and very slippery in places after the recent rain. Shortly after the halfway point a steady drizzle started, and any chance of a view from “the rock” disappeared, a good reason for four on the trip, who had not been to Blue Range before, to go again on a better day.
A couple who had stayed the night were leaving as our party arrived, the hut was rather crowded for a while with coats hung up to try and dry. Over an early lunch the rain got heavier for a while before stopping completely.
As we left I replaced the rat bait in the tunnels under the hut, there was none left from the last visit.
The trip down hill was dry, but cooler, with a little more birdlife as we got lower in the valley. We were back in Masterton about 3pm after a some good exercise.
Those on the trip, Nigel Anita, Jacqueline, Liat, Vivian, and Laura

Herepai Hut Trip Report 16th June 2019

Domestic duties shrank the planned weekend trip to Roaring Stag and Cattle Ridge Huts down to a day walk to Herepai Hut. Leaving Masterton in fog the single carload set off for the Putara track roadend west of Eketahuna. With westerly winds rising to gale strength the possibility of continuing on to Herepai Peak was swallowed up by the comforts of the hut, even without the fire stoked to life.
The two kilometre walk along the Mangatainoka Stream with two swing bridge crossings ought to be sufficient warm-up for the fairly steep 350 metre ascent onto the ridge. Yet it was a slow steady slog for most of us. On the ridge the sign post points left to Roaring Stag Hut and right to Herepai Hut. The travel is fairly flat, though muddy sections soon prove the worth of good boots and gaiters, especially for those who don’t look for stepping stones strategically placed in the puddles. Continuing past the little used ‘Bottle Track’, the last 100 metre ascent leading up to Herepai hut reveals a vantage point looking southward toward Roaring Stag Hut near the Ruamahanga Forks and, further south, Te Mara high point, which feeds both the Ruamahanga and Waingawa River systems. With less than 10 km of walking we were home by mid-afternoon, plenty of time to pick up the reins on domestic duties. The walk was led by Barry and included Nigel, Ange, and Paul.

The Old Ghost Road – May 2019

Situated just inland from Westport our walk on the Old Ghost Road looked to have familiar west coast weather, before we left Masterton the weather forecast was for heavy rain on two days of our walk, and showers on the other three.
Never mind, the dates are set and bookings are made, we will make the most of what turns up. A shuttle bus dropped us at Lyell, on the road to Westport from Nelson, where was the rain? The first day was up the gently graded former dray road, through lush forest of ferns and beech trees. Along the way we came across new signage, mining artefacts, and the remains of buildings from the gold mining days, dating back to the 1870’s. Bellbirds and many other native birds made a wonderful musical accompaniment. 
That night we stayed at Lyell Saddle hut, the rain did finally arrive, along with thunder and lightning, as we settled in to sleep.
Day two was to Ghost Lake hut. The original miners track had only got as far as Lyell Saddle, so for the next three days we were to be on tracks constructed by the Trust formed to open the cycle/walking trail. Soon we left the shelter of the forest and were out on the open tops, views of the surrounding mountains were sporadic as the cloud came and went, but it was way better than a day of rain. 
After Ghost Lake hut the route was generally downhill, so steep in one part that steps had been used to lose height quickly. As we entered the lowland forest the dense beech forest included patches of rimu, totara and some lancewoods. The numerous bellbirds of the first day were not so vocal in the northern forest sections. The night a Stern Valley hut was “memorable” for the snoring of one cyclist!
Day four, our longest day with 23km to the next hut at Specimen Point hut, was forecast to be very wet. The cyclists were to be away by 7am, we had an early start too, a good choice as it turned out. Shortly after we started we had a steady climb through an area named “the boneyard”, huge rocks had fallen down in past earthquakes, barren and not a place to hang around, but great views back down the valley from the top. After stopping at the historic Goat Creek hut for lunch we reached Forks hut just as the rain started. We were all thankful to reach Specimen Point hut about an hour later, we had just settled in and got the fire going when the rain came down in West Coast torrents, and continued on and off for most on the evening.
We woke to another fine day, our final day walking down the Mokihinui river gorge, where there had been, until recent years, plans to build a hydro dam. The patches of sun slowly increased and by the time we reached the Rough and Tumble Lodge, our destination that night, the sun was giving us our warmest day. Birdlife around the Lodge was prolific, helped no doubt by the many traps in the area.
A great trip highly recommended.

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.