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Ruahine Landscapes

Taranaki is quite close to many great mountain areas. Over the Christmas period Liz and I decided to get away from it all and disappear into the Ruahines for 8 days. Continuing with the landscape theme these are some images of that trip. I dont know about you but looking at them always gives me an urge to go back to the mountains ;-)

 

 

Accessing the park from the Taihape side the Purity track crosses a lot of hillcountry grazing.

 

Its pretty green and pretty steep.

 

Into the bush now, spring has clearly sprung.

 

(Brand new) Purity hut is up in the mist.

 

Above the hut theres snow on the ground and more falling. Its December 23rd. Go figure.

 

Getting off the ridge involves (usually) a descent of Pinnacle creek (below saddle, top right)

 

However we in our wisdom decided to descend the ridge to the north, which proved to be just as steep and just as treacherous, with some bush crashing to boot.

 

A definate spring flush to the hills in the parks interior.

 

A brief and timely clearing in the mist gave us this view of Barlow saddle which we must climb tommorow. Its the brown pass at center top.

 

Thats Liz climbing Barlow saddle, after a night at Waterfall hut.

 

And thats the other side, a quick drop down to Waikamaka hut.

 

Next day its over Waipawa saddle, the ascent somewhat of a billy goat trail. As for the descent (viewd here) its a relentless plummet down a dry riverbed. Hot work, now in muggy Hawkes Bay.

 

On this side of the range the bush is lush, and the tracks well made.

 

Nice ferns, ok so i have a fern fettish.

 

Climbing, we arrive at the treasure that is Sunrise hut.

 

Which lives up to its name.

 

These are taken about 5.50am

 

A little later. You can just make out the Pacific ocean in the distance.

 

On our way up to Armstrong saddle and the Maropea.

 

More tarns

 

Just over the saddle, greeted by Ruapehu.

 

And dropping down the spur at center, into some really rugged river headwaters.

 

Ngaurahoe too.

 

We spend a nice couple of days sploshing in the navigable Maropea, Waikamaka, and Kawhatau rivers.

 

We have to climb in and out of three major river catchments. On the way we get blown around a bit and see some nice alpine forest.

 

Wakelings hut, built on a nice bend in the river, and likely to remain dear to our hearts.

 

Rongotea tarn in 60 knot blow

 

From Rongatea you can just make out McKinnon hut, top centre, our destination. But first there is a 600m descent and ascent in the form of the Kawhatau river between us.

 

Mossy deer grazed alpine forest

 

Dropping precipitously into the Kawhatau.

 

Tired but persevering with the river section before the KcKinnon track starts. A few thigh deep river crossings.

 

Finally after two major climbs we reach the hut, now mist shrouded. Happy to be off our feet in such a magic place.

 

Next day thankfully the wind has eased. Rongotea in the distance, the route we came down is the center left spur.

 

McKinnon is a nice spot for high hut lovers.

 

Looking the other way you see Mt Hikurangi, one half of the pair of peaks that comprise the Ruahines highest peak. Clear now, but not for long.

 

The traverse over Hikurangi and Mangaweka occupies our day, in misty condtions. Its acres and acres of tussolk and no real track.

 

Theres occasional clearances in the cloud, but mostly we are following the GPS, something we did a lot of this rather un-summer-y trip.

 

Tarn, near Iron peg.

 

On the descent back to Purity we were welcomed back to earth by a little bird on a cairn.

 

And with this rather fantastic light symphony.

 


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