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Heels 1968

Anniversary Weekend In The Ruahines

Anniversary Weekend In The Ruahines

On Friday night, after a good meal at the Sisson's, the three of us sped in Brian's car to Wakarara to arrive at Waipawa base hut just behind two other trampers. Result - we slept on the floor.

Next morning dawned ominously. Hence, before we set off, the car was shifted from just below the hut to the other side of the Triplex Ck. ford. On observing the clouds scudding across the sky, we decided to walk up the Waipawa R. to Waipawa saddle. This was reached after only one minor piece of misnavigation. We started looking for the sidle track up the last little bit to the saddle at a point where it obviously did not start. This track on the northern side of the stream is useful in that it avoids much otherwise vicious scrub bashing. On reaching the saddle we were greeted by a nor'wester wind which would have made tops travel most unpleasant. We descended quickly towards Waikamaka hut - a 5-star H.T.C. hut recently rebuilt at a forks in the headwaters of the Waikamaka stream. En route, we observed an upwards waterfall caused by wind blowing up a downwards waterfall. After lunch in the hut we set up the other fork in the stream in the direction of Rangi saddle. On reaching a basin at the head of this valley, we could see a large U-shaped saddle ahead with a bump and a slight dip in the range to its left. After a map consultation it was decided that the dip was actually Rangi "saddle". On the other side of the saddle we went down an easy to follow trickle until it suddenly cascaded down rock of the loosest species into Rangi creek. Undaunted we proceeded down and much hairy page 6descending later we were able to move over to a scree slope and so down to Rangi creek. This was easy to follow down and soon Waterfall creek hut was reached.

On Sunday, the weather was again cloudy so, reluctantly, we decided to retrace our steps to Waikamaka. Up Rangi creek we saw a very easy route up an overgrown scree slope to Rangi saddle, which could have been reached the day before by sidling to the right a short distance at the saddle. However, as the weather was now beginning to clear we climbed up to the ridge on the other side of the creek. By the time the main divide was reached the weather was gloriously fine so that we were able to proceed north over Rangioteatua, the Three Johns, Waipawa saddle, and Te Atuaoparapara to Maropea forest service hut, which was reached before 3 o'clock.

The next day in fine weather we arrived one by one at the main divide (one person having suddenly found himself surrounded by thick leatherwood halfway up) where a view of not too distant Ruapehu was enjoyed. We were soon off again down through Armstrong saddle, Shut Eye Shack and Triplex creek to the car and so home after an enjoyable and successful Ruahines trip.

- K.G.J.

Party: Brian Sissons, Nick Whitten and Keith Jones.