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Heels 1967

Kainanawas, May '66

Kainanawas, May '66.

Party:- Leslie Bagnall, Gerald Edmunds, Pat McNaught, Kevin Pearce (leader), Dave Porter, Dave Stonyer, Jim Swadling, Lindsay Vaughan.

We entered the ranges on Monday afternoon 16th Kay by way of no. 15 access road for the Tongariro power project, This leads off N.E from the Desert Road 15 miles north of Waiouru. We camped at the confluence of the Waipahihi and Waikato rivers about 1½ hours from the main highway. Half an inch of rain fell during the night.

Next morning we set off up the Waipahihi river. The route page break requires innumerable river crossings and is easy when the river is down. The valley is generally fairly wide with tussock and beech covered flats offering many good camp sites. The small gorge marked on the map (N.Z.H.S. 196) is easily negotiated. After lunch we caught up with 4 A.U.T.C.'s on a trip parallel to ours. We [unclear: camped] at the head of; the river 8 hours from the Waikao Confluence. Snow began to fall and by morning was 2 inches deep around the camp site and thick on the tops.

We had planned to spend 2 days travelling along the Middle Range which lies between the Waipahihi and Rangitikei rivers. In view of the conditions, deep soft snow, strong southerly wind and cloud, it was decided to return down the river in easy stages.

The. A.U.T.C.'s also piked Most of the snow on the valley floor had melted when we made camp on Wednesday night and there was only a light sprinkling during the night. Thursday night was spent at our first camp site and again it rained.

On Friday we made our way out to the Desert Road. Conditions were rather bleak; snow on the ground, a strong southerly wind and light rain. Sympathetic motorists conveyed us south to sunshine and blue sky.

"Route Guide to the Ranges west of Hawke's Bay" by N.L. Elder, Government Printer 1959, price 3/6, is useful for planning trips in the Kaimanawas, Kaiwekas and Ruahines. State Forests cover part of these areas and permits are required. The boundaries of the Waiouru Military Area should also be noted.

-Kevin Pearcei.