28 October 2011

The Middle Range - Kaimanawas

The Middle Range in the Kaimanawas is a fine place for old pensioners to enjoy themselves in the hills.  I've had some very enjoyable trips there, both solo and with family, over the last few years.

South towards Thunderbolt
The first was solo. I went over Umukarikari to the upper Waipakahi river and the next day climbed up onto  Junction Tops and cruised happily along to Thunderbolt, then out to Motutere and down to the middle Waipakahi Valley to camp.  The third day I returned back over Urchin to meet Catherine.  Along the Middle Range I looked down on the impressive upper Rangitikei where I'd had another solo trip from Waiouru, coming out at Kiko Rd some years ago.  Grand feeling, wandering along the tops in good weather (and in good company), with views everywhere.


My second trip was with Catherine. We went over Urchin to camp in the Waipakahi in a delightful little inlet in the bush.  The next day we climbed Motutere in good weather and the third day we returned over Unchin.  Very pleasant trip.

David offers an Old Chap some Water
For the third trip David and I went over Urchin and climbed up to Karikaringa turning northwards on along the middle section of the Range to drop down into the Waipakahi via Moutere.  It rained through the latter part of the trip but we enjoyed the outing.  A short while later David and I repeated this trip in better weather but carried on to camp in a gentle tussocky valley before we reached the turnoff to Motutere.  We carried on the next day northwards up the range over Thunderbolt and along until we dropped down to the hut in the upper Waipakahi. Out over Umukarikari on the last day.

David Descending to Waipakahi Hut
On our last trip David, Warren and I went to the bottom of the Waipakahi Valley and made our way up onto the bottom of the Middle Range and up onto the Needles. The traverse along the range northwards was a big effort for an old chap. We traversed over Patutu and when we descended into the Waipakahi off Karikaringa and arrived on the valley floor to camp - I was exhausted and ravenous.  Only food and hot sweet drink saved the day.  It rained that night and the final day saw us trotting back down the river in dubious weather.



Camp in Tussocky Valley
Warren and David
The Waipakahi is a beautiful valley - one of the best in the North Island. I've been down it several times with family and friends. The last time I went down was with Ron Cox, an old friend from Brisbane days. We went down the upper valley and came out over Unchin. Yes, quite an area.