Roaring Stag 26-27 March ’23.
Trip Leader – Tony Spittal
With this trip originally scheduled for 25-26 March, I was contacted by Wellington
Tramping and Mountaineering Club enquiring how many we had on the trip as they
had a planned trip for same date with 16 in their group (the hut sleeps 12). At that
stage I had no-one else who had put their names down so I advised WTMC of this
but also told them I was aware that Palmerston North Tramping Club had a club trip
planned on the same dates.
I was subsequently contacted by Conrad and as it turned out we were able to delay
the trip by one day making it a Sunday / Monday trip instead. Three of us, Conrad,
Boots the hound and myself set off from the Putara Road end carpark at 2pm
Sunday on what was a warm and humid afternoon. Making our way along the river
track crossing both swing bridges we passed a number of trampers making their way
back from Roaring Stag. There were a lot of comments of how much rain had fallen
the night before. It was also apparent from walking along the river track how much
damage had been caused to the track from previous slips last year with one
particularly large slip on the true right diverting the stream which in turn had washed
out sections of the track.
As we made our way up the hill to the Roaring Stage / Herepai Hut junction point, it
was apparent from the water running down the track that a fair bit of rain must have
fallen as advised. It was also quickly apparent to me that my very “mild” dose of
Covid a few weeks before was impacting more than I would have thought as I huffed
and puffed my way up the hill to the junction point.
We made the junction turnoff in 1 hr 40 minutes (Boots was the only one of the three
us not huffing and puffing) and headed towards the hut. The track was very wet,
muddy and slippery with a lot of surface water lying around. Foot placement was
crucial to stop yourself from slipping over on the tree roots as well as trying not to get
a boot full of mud and water as Conrad unfortunately experienced.
We made the hut in 3 hrs 15 minutes to find one other person there. No one else
showed up that night so we virtually had the hut to ourselves. Looking through the
intentions book, a total of 18 people had stayed the night before, all from the
Palmerston North / Manawatu area with WTMC a no show (just as well). It appears
they may have taken onboard the heavy rain warning for the Saturday night and
decided to stay home.
As this was my first time to the hut, I was very impressed by the state of the hut as
well as its location next to the river which was too fast flowing (and looked too cold
anyway) to consider a swim but I can see that this would be an ideal location in the
Boots and Conrad @ Roaring Stag
Next morning after a relaxed start to the morning, we left the hut at 9am heading
back up the hill towards the junction turnoff. The track had dried somewhat from the
day before however remained muddy and slippery. We made the junction turnoff in
good time and carried on through to Herepai Hut for an early lunch and also to
inspect the recently revamped hut. We met one tramper who had turned back from
Herepai high point as the wind was knocking him over putting paid (at that stage
anyway) to his planned S-K trip. Again, a very tidy hut still with that new paint smell
after the extensive work carried out on it recently from Backcountry Trust volunteers
(a big thanks to those involved).
Unlike the full hut on Saturday night at Roaring Stag, only 2 people had stayed at
Herepai on the same night. Following lunch and after packing up the empty beer
cans and beer bottle to carry out, we headed back down the track to the carpark
arriving at 2.30pm. Weather was fine, warm (mostly) but breezy.
Inside Herepai, nice and light. Plenty of head room now.
Slip damage from previous year.
A great trip with 2 new huts ticked off for me. Thanks to Conrad and Boots for the