Monday, January 12, 2015

Rangiwahia Hut

Yesterday a French visitor and I climbed to Rangiwahia Hut. When I was younger I walked this route quite a few times, but I think it might be some 25 years or so since I last did it. (Gulp!) And it was a lot more difficult than I remembered- but oh the views were just spectacular, and every bit as sweet, if not more so!

 In the carpark at the bottom it was a special moment when I saw this memorial to Tony Gates, someone I went tramping with quite often in my younger days.

DOC has done a huge amount of work on this track. Much of it was forced because of a huge slip that came down, taking out a section of the existing track. They have re-routed the track so it now zigzags up above the slip- then zigzags down again to the bridge over the river. (Hence there is now a short uphill section on the return journey, whereas it used to be all downhill!) They have added several really informative signs, such as this one.

 The bridge is even more spectacular for being able to be viewed from above.

 And from the bridge it is an awful long way down to the river below- but somehow, it doesn't seem as scary as it looks.

 From the bridge on upwards, you regularly see these traps for stoats, laid in an effort to stop them predating the endangered blue duck, whio, that live in some of the fast moving streams here in the northern Ruahine region.

 This is a view back across the slip. In a couple of places you can still see where the track used to go- but no longer.
 I was really delighted to notice a small group of native orchid. For some reason, I had never been able to recognise these before when other people pointed them out to me, but today I 'knew' exactly what I was seeing.

 I did find the climbing hard work- harder than I was expecting. If I had been walking with friends instead of an overseas visitor, I think I might have given up, and told them to go ahead, I would see them again on the way down! But my visitor was very patient with my slowness uphill, and I kept looking hopefully at the vegetation, wishing upon it the 'shortness' of sub-alpine shrubs well before its time- until eventually we arrived, almost suddenly, at the tussock. And after a very small amount of tussock, the hut buildings came into view.

 These days there are some very flash longdrops behind the hut, complete with beautiful murals.

 And here is Rangiwahia Hut.

 Nearby I took a few minutes to explore the plants. From memory, this is an alpine daisy, Celmisia.

 The biggest surprise of the day came when we were eating lunch, and suddenly a glider swooped by. Amazing to watch it catch thermals and soar and glide above these ranges.

The view out to Ruapehu was a bit misty to start with, but the mountain soon came into clear view.

 You can see how rugged and remote these ranges are.

Going back downhill was so much easier- and an unexpected treat was seeing this rather large worm on the pathway. It was a beautiful walk, through some beautiful bush. I am glad I have done it again, even though I didn't find it all that easy uphill!

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