Fri (evening): Otaki Forks – Kime
Sat: Kime – Mangahuka via Tararua Peaks & Ladder – Anderson’s
Sun: Andersons – Waitewaiwai – Otaki Forks
FRIDAY: After negotiating a tedious traffic jam we finally arrived at Otaki Forks at dusk. We were lucky to have a clear starry night. We marched up to Field in a couple of hours. Had a little break & went on to Kime. The moon was half full giving ample light above the treeline. At one stage we could see Otaki, Masterton & Wellington, the lights shimmering in the distance.
SATURDAY: I woke early to the smells of bacon & eggs being fried up. At first I thought Raymond SC was preparing breaky! Not to be, it was the DOC contractors having a fry up. They had been painting the hut. After breaky & a chinwag with the other hut occupants we set out. We stepped outside to clear sunny skies & asked is this really the Tararuas? We could see the route ahead. It was going to be a long day. It was up down & up down & up down anyway you get the idea. After negotiating the Tararua peaks & the new ladder ( not bad ) we got to Mangahuka hut at about 1pm. A delightful little hut tucked away from the wind which was now getting up. Good old SC needed a little siesta & a couple of fags. Finally a good feed & then off.
Was it better not to see the main range because you saw how far you had to go? Or was it better just to marvel at this splendid range that rarely enjoys such ideal conditions?
Before long we came across the easies! Glynne, Trish & another. They had come from Powell. After a quick inspection of Glynne’s pack for alcohol we decided it was safe for them to proceed.
More up & down & more. The legs were beginning to feel it. Yet slowly but surely we edged towards that Anderson’s hut. The sun was getting lower & the colours more intense. As I left the tops & descended into the bush, I noticed some bright orange. On first glance I thought it was someone’s pack liner. Only there were many… As I got closer I could see it was the last of the sun. Truly magnificent, shining through the moss covered trees. Through the fading light the hut was a welcome sight. SC was still an hour behind!
The hut was occupied with some hardcore hunters, who were airlifted in & out! Well as you can imagine they had all the provisions, cold beers (whoops!), fresh meat etc. These hunters could snore & that’s saying something with SC in the hut as well. I’m sure the hut moved.
SUNDAY: In the morning the cloud rolled in & the Tararuas looked a little more familiar. A scramble down to Waitawaewae for lunch, a swim (yes was still a little water there), Up & down then out to Otaki Forks. The legs were feeling it, though that mattered none, what a great trip!