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Heels 1967

Mangaweka or Pike

Mangaweka or Pike

Aim of Experiment: To see if it is possible to make a Ruahine crossing in May.

Method: Take five mad trampers and deposit them in Moorcock Base Hut one Saturday night and see if they can get to Mangaweka, offering such incentives as Forest Service Huts, transport from Mangaweka etc.,


Sunday: Our human guinea pigs made their way to Howlets Hut on the main range via Centre Tuki Hut and some nice Forest Service tracks which were of better quality than several Tararua tracks. It was a trifle windy on the top.

Monday: Two inches of snow having fallen over night and the breeze still blowing, they stayed in their pits all day, amusing themselves with such games as battleships, noughts and crosses (MKW style) and making trips outside to enjoy the scenery.

Tuesday: By now twelve inches of snow had fallen, so our heroes decided to go north to another hut near the tops in case good weather might arrive. So they deseended to Centre Tuki Hut and then down the super-cooled Tuki tuki River (lovely) It was here that the party's five navigators found that they were not very good (they blamed the map of course). A stray farmer appeared, however, and corrected their error and they ascended a ridge to Hinerua Hut - getting their feet nicely frozen.

Wednesday: Afine clear day dawned, but the snow had stayed so the five mugs decided to wander up onto the tops without packs to enjoy the scenery of Hawkes Bay - beautiful. Unfortunately, they never made it for they were struck with an attack of laziness a mere 800 ft. from the top - they said it was because the snow was getting too deep (around the knees) They descended to Hinerua Hut for lunch and then on down to South's Creek Hut (imagine - tramping from the Northern Ruahines to the Southern Tararuas in one hour!!) The trip to Mangaweka had now been called off - after all there were still several forest service huts at a lower level.

Thursday: Our five pikers had an easy trip down to Waipawa base hut, where they emerged from the snow for the first time, and warmed their feet - Luverly!!

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Friday: Phil Burgess's father picked them up from the Wakara school where they had become friends with the school's goats (birds of a feather flock together??) They were deposited at intervals on the main highway to Wellington to bludge their way back to Wellington.

Results: They piked. Conclusions: May is not a very good time to do a Ruahine Crossing.

Five Pikers: Nigel Eggers (head piker) Nick Whitten, Phil Burgess Chris Studt, Gerald Edwards (Scribe)