On 12 December six intrepid explorers, led by Frances, set off from the Welly Railway Station at 8 am on Saturday for the northern stretch of the Tararuas to do the ‘easy’ graded Mitre Flats walk. The rest of the group was Jane, Julia, David, John and Antonia. After a brief but essential stop for caffeine/donuts/pie we carried on to the Mitre Flats trail-head and started walking at about 1 pm. The first part of the walk was an easy track through farmland but we had a face-off with a herd of cows which we lost (they had horns!) – so round we went. The rest of the tramp from there to the hut was uneventful. It was an undulating track, fairly sheltered from the winds and we appreciated not being any higher up. Our arrival at the hut was perfectly timed, the torrential downpours started shortly after we arrived at around 4 pm. We lounged around the hut, had a debate about how much pasta was or wasn’t needed, as nobody seemed keen on eating up left over pasta for breakfast.
Next morning, after a fairly leisurely start, we set off from the hut at 8:30. Rain meant that tree roots had become slippery but were successfully navigated by all. We walked back out on the same track, returning to the good camping spot we’d seen the day before for lunch – the views were great. From here it was a short distance back to the van. Thanks to Frances for her expert guiding and for driving the van for us – much appreciated.