Cow Creek Hut and the Ruamahanga River
The schedule said we should have been clambering around the ‘tops’ but alas the weather forecast wasn’t looking so good for such a trip. So Plan B was launched with Nigel, Gerald, Margaret B and Sandra B leaving Kiriwhakapapa road end at 1230pm on Sunday 24th January.
We headed up the familiar track towards Blue Range hut and met at least 4 groups returning from day trips and 2 ladies from an overnighter (they had not found any dolphins!). A quick break at the Te Mara turnoff and then we were on around the side of the hill and along the ridge. The bush had lovely afternoon sunlight streaming through it and the birds were happily chirping. We stopped at the ‘Waingawa River’ track sign and discussed potential options – but kept with our original plan and headed straight down the hill to the river.
We crossed the bridge and arrived at Cow Creek hut to find we were the only occupants for the night. The hut had had a re-paint and was looking bright and clean. A refreshing wash prepared us all for the ritual ‘what are you having for your dehydrated dinner’ conversation, cooking and enjoying.
On Monday we packed up and took the bridge and track option to reach the other side of the river to head to Cow Saddle. A warm climb up the hill as the sun slowly crept over the top to reach us. We discussed potential trips and routes from the junction at Waingawa track then headed onwards on a sidle over a few tree falls. We reached the small creek which was looking quite overgrown with its young beech trees. We followed the creek downstream, crossing it multiple times and resting in the hot sun with fresh cold water to drink. At the junction of Cleft Creek we took a good side track through the bush to bring us to another creek junction and then onto the bush track proper.
We then headed on with the idea of stopping at the Ruamahanga side track junction for lunch. Our hunger made us stop just shy of the sign posts and close to a good creek for a billy boil up. After hot soup and tea we continued along the river track, with amazing views and beautiful bush. Another brief break was held at the bush / farm edge before the final walk to the road end via the farm paddocks