Makahika to Te Matawai Hut (Tararua Ranges)
Last night John came down to our campsite with a large and detailed map of the ranges and fully briefed us on what to expect and things to be mindful of. In the morning he gave me a weather update but it hasn’t changed much and we should have good weather as long as we are coming down by Monday morning. Caroline and Karina both decided they did not want to go up so have opted to get a ride into Levin and walk the road to Waikanae where they will rejoin the trail. Caroline’s parter Freek will still do the ranges and Katrina who arrived last night after doing the same long stretch we had done the day before. Only Katrina is not able to stay for a rest day because of the VIP guests coming.
We left the OPC at 8.30am and walked 4.5kms down the road to the track entrance. Freek had gone before us but was waiting at the carpark when we got there. Katrina had to go into town to pick up a delivery of supplies from the post shop that she had sent herself so wont hit the trail until later in the morning. We were expecting to be at the hut by 5pm and we got there by 4.30. Only 17kms but it takes a full day because of the difficulty of the steep terrain and poor track conditions.
The day was everything we expected it to be. Heaps of sloppy mud, wet boots and climbing up some major elevations. The first climb was nearly 1000m abs (starting at 150) and was a serious workout. Then we dropped down 300 and then back up. These are not distances but elevations. For example Mt Manaia is about 420m abs and the track is about 2kms to get up there.
There are already some amazing views looking down to the west and looking around at all the other ridges. The tallest we are yet to climb. Tomorrow morning we will continue our ascent to nearly 1400m abs then back down to 1000m then follow a ‘saw tooth’ ridge line before climbing back up to 1200m to Nichols Hut where we will be staying for the night.
The forest up here is beautiful and the old trees are covered in bright green moss. I hope my photos do it justice but it is really amazing to be walking through it.
I had a separate mission today to deliver a GPS/communication device to a group who went up yesterday and are using different tracks and huts to us but our track will combine for a short period at the top. The guy we picked up along the way yesterday had forgot to take it. He has a group of young teenagers with him. They need it to check in and communicate with John. I intercepted them just in time at a junction point. They were sitting and having a break luckily otherwise we would have missed them. He was very grateful and surprised I had got it to him.