We left Wellington on a sunny Saturday morning and after a caffeine boost in Martinborough arrived at the Putangirua road ready for our adventures. With boots and packs on we set off to find orcs amongst the Putangirua Pinnacles. Possibly it was too sunny for the orcs to be out so we had no success but we did admire the magnificent spires from the valley and then from the lookout above.
After our sightseeing we headed up the ridge towards Washpool Hut. The track was overgrown with gorse and was difficult to see in some places, however we headed on up with good views from the clearings. We encountered several runners coming the other way – they were practicing for a race – and they commented we had quite a climb followed by a steep descent. Not exactly encouraging! Nevertheless, we carried on and eventually arrived at Washpool Hut.
Washpool is a basic eight bunk hut with water available from a nearby stream. Well we certainly needed a drink. There were only the five of us at the hut and we enjoyed the club’s salmon pasta recipe for dinner. A beautiful clear night with lots of stars – for me that’s one of the joys of tramping (or is that après tramping?).
The next morning was again gloriously sunny. There is an alternative riverbed route to the hut and we all opted for the scramble out rather than facing the hill climb again. The trip out proved to be very pleasant – boulder-hopping and stream-fording – but we did have to watch out for ongaonga! Eventually the valley widened and there was a four-wheel drive track to follow out to the sea.
I walked/hitched back to get the van while the others relaxed by the road. Then it was back to Martinborough for more coffee and home again. Overall a great weekend – fine weather, pleasant bush, tasty food and good company.