New Zealand Walk: Hihitahi Forest Sanctuary and Zeikes Hut walk
Earlier this year twenty-two Wednesday Wilderness Walkers, a group within the Manawatu Tramping and Skiing Club, assembled in the minimal provision made for car parking at the road side at the start of the track to the Hihitahi Forest Sanctuary in the Central North Island.
We left the car park area at about 9.30am, and made our way down the side of the large paddock currently carrying a crop of a brassica to the swing bridge. On the far side we assembled for trip leader’s briefing.
Once over the fence into the sanctuary proper we met the challenge presented by the first boggy section, now (sadly?), diminished from its legendary state of several years ago.
The next challenge was the steep cliff section, the most demanding part of which has a 52m rise in 100m. (See plots). A welcome morning tea stop was taken at the top of the cliff before the start of the tramp onwards along the ridge to the trig point.
The track was overgrown because of the wet weather and lack of use as it had been closed since October following a poison-drop. Again, as a result of the wet summer and recent rain, the bush was beautiful in its green lushness but in the early stages it did make for very a wet walk. (DOC have confirmed the safety of the tramp)
By 11.50am all of the party had achieved the trig point at 1111m from the lowest point at 740m.
We were denied grand views by the low clouds on the mountain but as the morning progressed the local clouds had lifted.
Most choose to have their lunch and turn at the trig point on what was a warm and windless day. Six trampers chose to tramp onwards to the hut arriving for a brief lunch at about noon.
All trampers were safely out by 2.40pm but there were many muddy bums sustained on the steep and challenging descent.
One unfortunate tramper (me) slipped of the lower track but sustained no reportable injury. The consensus was that this was a rewarding tramp. It was rounded off by our now traditional visit to Le Café, Telephonique in Taihape..
Report and GPS plot Bob, photos, Maureen, William and Bob.
Above left: Making their way through ferns.
Below left: Beside a paddock of brassicas.
Below right: Zeikes Hut.