Southern Main range

maungahukaIt had been five years since I’d last been to Maungahuka, so I signed up to lead the southern main range, a physically demanding trip which takes you across the tops between Bridge peak and Crawford.

Friday night: Tramped to Field hut.

Saturday: We arose with some hunters at 5:30 am and were away by six, the weather was pretty good, a softish south easter with cloud hovering around 1600 meters promised a day of good views and coolish tramping. We summited Bridge peak in regulation time turning north towards Maungahuka.

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The views were good, showing Crawford in the distance with all the big climbs in between, including the long ascent on to Aokaporangi, a long way to walk with many big climbs in between, red meat for fit trampers.

We made good speed along the range to Vosseler, from there the ridge changed and we either went up or down across the various high points, none of the party struggled with the 25 meter ladder between the Tararua Peaks and we made Maungahuka hut by 11:30 for an early lunch and a hot brew, well deserved after the physically demanding first half of the day.

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During lunch we were joined by 2 trampers heading north with us to Andersons and a ‘Mad-Pom’ Matt Briggs who was on his 42nd day of an epic tramp from East Cape to the southern end of the Rimutakas, a trip spanning the Kawekas, Kaimanawas, Ruahines, Tararuas and Rimutaka ranges.

Mike and Mad-Pom were cyber buddies from tramping forums and got to meet physically for the first time in one of the most remote huts in the Tararuas.

We left the hut in the clag, and powered along the ridge till the 250 odd meter ascent of Aokaporangi, my previous encounter with this peak had been unpleasant, after 7 odd hours of heavy tramping it was a nasty surprise. This time around we knocked the bugger off with minimum fuss. A few more miles groans and sweat and we made the hut, literally singing with joy.

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An early dinner of pasta followed by, hot custard over ginger loaf and it was early to bed for at least one very exhausted punter, it had been a long physical day.

Sunday: We ascended Junction knob to some of the best tops views I’ve ever had, we could see the entire main range from Dundas to Hector, and the Holdsworth range, the mighty peaks draped in clouds, it was the highlight of the tramp.

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We made the long descent to YTYY (Waitewaewae Hut) for a long lunch before walking out to the Forks for the drive home, with good weather and views this would rate as one of the best tops trips I’ve done.

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