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Ruahines - Top Forks hut

We left Northland just after 7, and almost 3 hours and 200km later we parked the van in the carpark. It was half an hour in to the new, and very well designed and built, Deerstalker's Heritage Lodge (800m). After entering our intentions in the log book, we were off up the long ridge to Tunopo (1568m). Three hours later, plus lunch, we reached the top. It was a still, but very cold afternoon, and the cloud hung around, so we navigated on to the ridge with map and compass.

The ridge was good travel, and we headed north losing 100m before reaching a signpost close to point 1520m. A break in the cloud helped is spot the ridge and route down, there wasn't a trail. The ridge became more obvious as we descended and blazes started before we reached the scrub. It was a good walk down through the bush and the track dropped off the side of the spur 50m above the hut. It was 5pm and we were glad to get there.

The water supply was the stream, and we quickly got a brew on, and warm clothes, the temperature was dropping rapidly as the sky cleared and night came. We lit a small fire in the enourmous fireplace, but kept it small to save having to replace a large quantity of wood. Dinner was rice and Indian curry, both out of a bag, but convenient and quickly cooked, not to mention yummy. Dessert was a brew and neenish tarts, not that we had a lot of room for them. It was obvious it was going to be cold, and we were happy to crwal into out bags wearing more clothing at any time since last time I slept in a snow cave! None the less we were warm and slept well.

The coldness of the night was demonstarted by the frost reaching up 10m into the trees, but a beautiful day awaited us, and we were away before 8:30.

It was a pleasant and steady climb up the ridge, with a good view to the east to the Pohangina headwaters and out towards Dannevirke. Once out of the bush an in the leatherwood zone the sun was bright, but sun screen hadn't been on the gear list. Brian showed off by putting on his sun hat though.

The views were wonderful from the tops, Ruapehu and its companions to the north with snow linking them, Taranaki, the Tararuas, Kapiti, and the inland Kaikouras. We enjoyed the walk and took an early lunch, before climbing the last 50m to Tunopo. It was then a long walk do the ridge, counting wind falls from a strom a week earlier. Depending on how you counted we got past 20 across the track.

We were glad to reach Heritage lodge, logging out, and having a chat the the guy who built it, who, with his wife, was doing some minor maintenance.

2008-09-06 1 Brian.jpeg: 790x1185, 387k (2008 Sep 25 11:07)
2008-09-07 1 Brian.jpeg: 784x1185, 689k (2008 Sep 25 11:04)
2008-09-07 2 Brian.jpeg: 1132x789, 163k (2008 Sep 17 09:32)
2008-09-07 3 Brian.jpeg: 1181x790, 775k (2008 Sep 25 11:07)
2008-09-07 4 Brian.jpeg: 1188x793, 836k (2008 Sep 25 11:09)
2008-09-07 5 Brian.jpeg: 1144x800, 721k (2008 Sep 25 11:06)
CNV00020.JPG: 597x400, 107k (2008 Sep 08 11:58)
Heritage Lodge
CNV00021.JPG: 400x597, 138k (2008 Sep 09 11:22)
Windfall
CNV00022.JPG: 597x400, 78k (2008 Sep 08 11:58)
Brian on the tops
CNV00023.JPG: 597x400, 115k (2008 Sep 08 11:58)
Top gorge hut
CNV00024.JPG: 597x400, 60k (2008 Sep 08 11:58)
Dinner time
CNV00025.JPG: 597x400, 144k (2008 Sep 08 11:58)
Pohangina
CNV00026.JPG: 597x400, 104k (2008 Sep 08 11:58)
Tops going south

Page last modified on 2008 Sep 26 06:56

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