Our journey began on Friday night with a drive up to the Ruahine Range. We parked at the track end on Mangleton Road, and donned our packs for a 5 minute walk in to Sentry Box Hut. After that exhausting ordeal we headed straight to bed, ready for a slightly longer day tomorrow.
Saturday dawned and we headed straight into a 700m uphill climb, in hotter weather than we were expecting. Large sections of the climb were out in the open, so sunscreen was applied early.
Once on the tops, we had pretty chill travel north to Aranga Hut. We popped off for a small side trip to the Pohatuhana Trig and almost got blown away in the wind – a foreshadowing of what was to come that afternoon. The trip to the Trig was worth it for the views of a snow covered Mt Ruapehu to the west.
As we approached Aranga Hut, there were some boggy sections to navigate, but otherwise the track was exceptionally well cut. After “first lunch”, we continued on around towards Kylie Biv, making great progress until the track ran out.
Some of the tops travel was easy going, but descent sections involved annoying tussock. The situation was not helped by the wind picking up as we headed over Piopio. We thought it would become boggy as we approached Totora Spur, as the topo map shows a large number of tarns. But fortunately, these were well confined and easy to navigate.
At this point Peter and Brett headed down the spur to Upper Makaroro Hut, while Emily and Mathew popped over to bag Kylie Biv – suffering only a small amount of brain freeze in the wind to do so. Kylie Biv is bright blue, in excellent condition, and is a great place for taking photos in the doorway if you want to look like a giant.
We all reconvened at Upper Makaroro Hut, and got right into making a large dinner.
In keeping with Saturday, Sunday began with an uphill slog. We made it to Parks Peak Hut in two hours, managing to get a couple of glimpses of Kylie Biv on the way. There was still a chilly wind on the ridge, but we were mostly in bush. We made good progress along the ridge, and virtually ran back downhill, making it to the car by midday.
- Sentry Box Hut to ridge: 2 hrs
- Along ridge to Aranga Hut: 1 hour 40 mins via trig
- Aranga Hut to Kylie Biv: 4 hrs 30 mins
- Kylie Biv to Upper Makaroro Hut: 1 hr 25 mins
- Upper Makaroro Hut to Parks Peak Hut: 2 hrs
- Parks Peak Hut to road: 1 hr 30 mins