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Heels 1969

Kaimanawa Easter Trip

Kaimanawa Easter Trip

After muffled remarks about the weather, the six of us crawled out of our pits into drizzling rain and decamped. A short walk to the Tongariro River was followed by a late breakfast, while we watched two large groups of Waikato and Hutt Valley trampers head up the river. By eleven page 18o'clock we were following the wide bed of the Tongariro, up to the confluence of the Waikato and the Waipakihi.

After the confluence the river is known as the Waipakihi. It is here that a dam will be constructed in the next decade. Our plan was to go up a side creek, follow a ridge to the tops and camp there for a couple of days. Then drop back into the Waipakihi River on Monday. A suitable, or so we thought, stream was found and followed up for two hours in the pouring rain. It was then we realized that a better ascent would be possible, from further up the Waipakihi. That night we camped an hour up river past our side creek.

We set off in perfect weather on Saturday; travelling up the river for an hour before we found a suitable ridge. The bush line was reached a little after mid-day, when we had a great view of Lake Taupo, the township, Lake Rotoaire and the mountains of National Park.

After lunch we passed a dozen Waikato trampers and by 3 p.m. we were all sitting on the top of Patutu - 5600'. The view was of miles and miles of tussock stretching to Hawkes Bay, and some very rugged peaks to the north. We decided to make camp in a small basin to the east of Patutu, and here we spent two cold nights.

Sunday came about with the roaring of a stag and a view of Ruapehu in the distance. Though the weather deteriorated throughout the day, we went over to the main range.

After a hurried breakfast on Monday, we headed up the ridge in cold wind and misty conditions to Patutu again, then followed a ridge down to the South. By midday we were at the bushline for lunch, before we set off to bash our way down through the lawyer.

By 3 p.m. we had reached the Waipakihi River again. An hour and a half later saw us at the car park and heading back to Wellington after an enjoyable trip.

Party:- John de Joux (leader), Gerald Edmunds, Helen Jemmett, Clive Bolt, Jim Gibbons, Dave Bamford.

"Wise men find pleasure in water; the virtuous in mountains" - Confucius