Heavy rain warnings for the weekend prompted us to consider changing our plans, as the route to the
Waitawheta Hut has three river crossings, in addition to three bridged river crossings. The alternative
Daley’s Clearing Hut was a definite possibility if there was a risk of rising rivers.|
our departure from Auckland to allow for the predicted morning downpour to pass by before we arrived
at Franklin Rd in the Karangahake Gorge.
Arriving in Paeroa, we took shelter in the café where
we had a detailed Map Reading lesson from Peter Osborne. Compass reading to orientate the map, and to
set the direction of travel were skills we would practice en-route.
The heavy rain seemed illusive,
with only light drizzle about, so we set off for the car park in Franklin Rd, where we began our tramp.
Stan ably led us, with Johanna at the tail. Noting potential dangers, electric fences and stopping at
junctions, we proceeded up the open farmland before entering the bush.
We sheltered under a sturdy
Rimu tree for lunch, when a much heavier downpour came across. It was short lived, but showed there could
be more like it, so we were happy to head for the Daley’s Hut destination, with Jay leading and with
Ruth at the tail. Reading the type of terrain, from the laminated maps Peter provided, and informing
the group of the expected trail ahead was well done by participants.
At Daley’s Hut we settled
in for afternoon tea, (claiming all the 8 available bunks) and heard from Val on Meal Planning and Paul
explained the finer points of reading weather maps. A devotions was shared by Paul, on Ephesians 1: 3-10
the blessings of Christ, and how He delights in us.
The arrival of many more groups prompted us
to set up tents, to vacate some hut spaces for families and children. This was a good exercise in erecting
the Trios tent, and the Osbornes used their own one.
A full hut curtailed our evening discussions
planned, and we were also missing Alasdair’s participation as he had to fulfil his responsibilities
as Hut Warden at Waitawheta Hut (and had gone in much earlier in the day). However, Alasdair visited
us on Sunday morning and showed us his research on the river levels, with photos of floods, to match
the data he had accessed regarding the rainfall in the area. No floods this weekend, but we happened
to be very cautious trampers, ensuring we did not encounter them!
Sunday morning we reviewed the
use of electronic equipment: PLBs, GPS and two-way Radios with Peter’s detailed explanations. All the
participants then led us using the radios, as we exited by the longer route, on the Mangakino and Dean
Tracks, arriving at the car park just after 12 noon.
A review of participants achievements took
place in the comfortable café surroundings. All participants felt they had a most worthwhile weekend,
and had gained confidence in leading tramps.