Neill Forks Haikus

The forecast was for rain and wind in the Tararua but we had no unbridged river crossings and only a very short section of exposed tops so we set off on Plan A to reach Neill Forks hut from Waiohine Gorge road end, via Cone, Neill Peak and the unmarked spur NE down to the hut. When we stopped for lunch just above Neill Saddle, we recalibrated our plans to avoid a bush bash in the dark – we hadn’t made enough progress to allow us a good chance of getting down the unmarked spur before nightfall. Instead, we took the track back to Cone peak, along Cone Ridge and down to Neill Forks hut arriving just after 5pm and just before the really heavy rain started. We had a cosy night in the hut with a great fire, a yummy meal and a game of cards. On Sunday we walked back out to Waiohine Gorge in 7.5hrs.

Group photo in front of Neill Forks Hut before setting off. Photo: Caryl.

Everyone composed a haiku or two to tell the rest of the story:


Water drops all around

Good boots and gaiters, dry feet

Blazing fire in hut

Long exposure shot of Neill Creek. Photo: Lynsey.


River-filled bladder

Caught some little shrimpy guys:

Non-vegan water

Tarn at Cone Ridge. Photo: Caryl.


Dewed moss springs. My knees

Creak down ragged roots, mud, slides,

Swing bridge in the mist

Luke on top of a rock outcrop enjoying glimpses of the view. Photo: Jo.


Tree roots are dog shit.

Banana exploded.

Fruit Burst my hero.

Snack break at a junction. Photo: Lynsey.


Tararua love

Goblin forest in the mist

Tonic for the soul

Group photo in the goblin forest at the high point of Cone Ridge. Photo: Caryl.


Green, steep, windy, wet

Off-track dreams cut short, warm hut

Green, steep, calmer, wet

One of the steep ascents. Photo: Lynsey.

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