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Heels 1968

Haukura Ridge - Cattle Ridge

Haukura Ridge - Cattle Ridge

Some time in June 1967, five bipeds converged on Eketahuna Station, from which they were taxied for an extortionate fee to the end of the road. By midnight they had clomped up to Putara Hut and retired for the night.

Saturday morning was cold with a hint of snow in the air and a definite statement of it on the ground. Tom's scientific apparatus (a thermometer) had soon served its purpose - "it's freezing!" so Euan accidentally leant on it - crunch!

Tom came rapidly to the boil and with the consequent increase in air temperature, we managed to raise our cold limbs and leave the hut. The climb up to Hines kept us warm and we set off in the direction of East Peak in mist and a cool wind. The snow was crisp and we made good time along to East Peak where we found the correct ridge to Haukura Ridge and were soon ploughing through a noxious mixture of snow and leatherwood in the saddle. Over a few knobs and down in another leatherwood saddle we found Haukura Ridge bivvy where we had lunch. After lunch we continued along the ridge and eventually dropped into Ruapae Stream, having lost the track (if there was one). At Roaring Stag we stopped page 5for a while and then plodded up to Cattle Ridge Hut where we spent the night. That night was clear and moonlit, but my suggestion to continue along Cattle Ridge after tea failed to arouse interest.

Next morning was in contrast cloudy to the west - in fact it looked black and ominous. So we motored along to Waingawa in quick time and descended to Cow Saddle, picking up a track at the bushline. Lunch was had at Cow Saddle and we continued over Blue Range admiring fine views of snow covered Tararua knobs on the way. A visit to Blue Range Hut (really cosy and has magnificent views) and a speedy trip downhill to the road end completed the enjoyment of the trip. Sore feet and an aching thumb saw us all home by Monday morning.

- R.G.

Party: Tom Clarkson (leader), Nick Whitten, Kevin Pearce, Euan Nichol, Ross Gooder.