Off we set into the Tararuas, ably skirting the rock fall on the access road and fording the Waiohine via an outlandishly large swing bridge.
Our amble along the tops via Cone was a rare treat of good visibility and only the lightest zephyr of a breeze. Views from Cone extended from the Tararua Peaks to the Wairarapa. Trip-leader-Debbie got dressed up for the occasion (see photos below).
The forecast snowy hail didn’t hit until late afternoon, as we were scrambling down the steep descent to Neill Forks Hut. At that point we were pleased to be saddled with significantly less gear than our planned expedition to Ngaruhoe crater. It’s a long-drop to get to the bottom of the ridge.
Neill Forks is a classic old-school hut. It’s a nice spot, nestled by the river. Along with charm comes mold, so several of us opted for various forms of mattress protection. One punter ended up on the floor after creaky saggy springs and clouds of dried mold proved just a bit too much.
We retraced our steps to Cone ridge, and after a bit of navigation discussion, descended in record-breaking time to Totara Flats Hut. The walk out along Totara Flats was a classic Tararua mix of beauty and the bog.
A good weekend out in the hills with a fab bunch of people. Thanks Debbie for another great trip!