Ruapehu Winter trip
13th – 15th August 2021
Barry, Nigel, Margaret, Gail and Sandra B left Masterton at 8am on Friday 13th, heading north for our Ruapehu weekend. With a coffee stop in Taihape, we checked the weather and carried on to Ohakune to meet our shuttle.
Gavin from Yeti Tours dropped us off at the Waitonga Falls carpark on the Ohakune Mountain Road. The walk into Mangaehuehu hut took us 3.5 hours. The terrain was gentle to start, with a fairly easy grade to Waitonga Falls. After icy an cold river crossing we headed up hill and through the beech forest. We carried on past the Blyth Hut turnoff, along the boardwalks and across the snowy open expanses. There were multiple creek and river crossings, some bridged. Approximately half an hour from the hut, it was jackets on to protect us from the cold wind and light drizzle.
Friday night we had the hut to ourselves, the dehydrated meals were soaked and heated, hot drinks and chocolate slices for dessert.
Saturday morning was a little breezy, and a little drizzly. The mountain was hiding. We updated our day trip idea to a short walk for 10 minutes to an hour. From the hut we headed north and east around the mountain covering new terrain. The weather improved as we went, and we kept dry the whole time we were out. At times the sun was out and we wished we had sunglasses! The terrain was varied, bush and tussock, rocky old lava flows and snow. After 1.5 hours we stopped for views and a muesli bar then retraced our steps to the hut for lunch.
After a hot soup lunch and a chat to a day walker we prepped the hut for the anticipated arrival of8 trampers that the day walker had told us about. The afternoon was spent trying to improve our Dom Post 5 min quiz score, NZ yatze and dressing for dinner! Barry and Gail won this award with white shirt / white paper vest, ties and hats. The rest of us had bow ties and party hats. Our three course meal consisted of potato chips, bolognaise, pasta, fresh broccoli and cauliflower with cheese sauce. Delicious! After a brief rest and dishes, we moved on to dessert: chocolate brownie, tinned peaches, boysenberries, fresh cream and chocolate shavings. Amazing! Possibly the most delicious and extravagant dessert I’ve had tramping. We finished the night with ‘last card’ games and the WTA quiz.
After a Sunday 430am wake up (as the other tramping group decided to re-light the fire) we got some more sleep, good breakfast, pack up and we were off along the icy track to the road end. Ruapehu was visible off and on early in the morning but had clouded over as we left the hut. The track had icy puddles and a light haw frost. We stomped through the puddles, took care on the boardwalks where it was slippery. Again the weather was kind to us, no rain and only a slight icy breeze. We stopped for photos at Waitonga falls and met our shuttle pick up at 12pm.
A delicious lunch was had in Ohakune before heading south back to the Wairarapa.