Our group left Wellington first thing on Saturday morning and encountered a great snow scene driving over the Rimutakas. Luckily the weather was feeling friendly and we soon left the snow behind – a beautiful weekend was ahead.
A stop at the Clareville Bakery, just north of Carterton, was a given for pre-tramp calories and under Richards trusty driving skills we arrived at Putara road end for the start of the walk around midday. The path itself is very straightforward, as long as you’re actually watching where you’re going and not chatting so much to the person behind you that you miss the turn in the path and walk directly on into the bush, still talking, and have to be called back. That person will remain nameless. Okay, it was me.
We kept a laid back pace, stopping to enjoy the great weather and have some impromptu map skills lessons. We reached the Roaring Stage/Herepai junction on the ridge for a short lunch around 2.30pm and headed for the Roaring Stag, arriving around 4:30pm after wading through the classic Tararua mud all along the ridgeline and down to the hut. Above us, the tops were well covered with snow, but for us the ground was just soggy.
Due to the easy nature of the walk Richard had suggested making the communal meal a little bit more gourmet than usual and so we found ourselves having a chicken, caper, olive and tomato pasta dinner with fresh Billy Chocolate Cake for dessert! With Chief Guide dispensation, we got to wash it all down with some drinks too. Who needs Welly on a Plate?? As a familiarisation exercise, we had a mountain radio which Bram rigged up and confirmed our party all safe on the 6:30pm scheduled call. We were the only group talking.
Roaring Stag is clearly well used – the log book was well filled in and we had a pair of hunters and a couple to share with, making for a very cosy hut. The lucky hunters struck gold with us and shared our bountiful chocolate cake. Hopefully it made up for their lack of meat that day!
We all awoke to frozen gaiters the next morning and after slapping them back to some kind of movement we retraced our steps back to the van, setting off around 9am and reaching the vehicle at 1pm. Kereru could be heard a few times while on the ridge, but never spotted, while lower down near the river was busy with Fantails.
At the Wild Oats café stop on the way back, we bumped into one of the other trampers in from the hut and reunited her with her waterproof trousers she had left behind. A small world in the Tararuas.
Good weather, good food, good tramp.
Sat 29 Jul 17
Start Putara Road End: 1150hrs
Lunch: 1415 – 1435hrs
Arrive Roaring Stag Hut: 1625hrs
Minimum elevation: 130m
Maximum elevation 750m
Sun 20 Jul 17
Start Roaring Stag Hut: 0855hrs
Arrive Putara Road End: 1300hrs