Kaima Range - Kauritatahi Hut --> Puketutu Hut
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Has anyone walked this recently, it's the 'Old North South Track' along the top of the Kaimai Range, Te Henga Ridge, that connects Kauritatahi & Puketutu Huts. The 'New North South Track' drops down off the Range into Aongatete and so travels this section to the East... Kauritatahi & Puketutu Huts are no longer on the 'North South Track'. Anyone done this recently, who can maybe offer some track beta, how well marked it is, how easy it was to find/follow the track/route, maybe some track times etc between the 2 huts? Even better a GPS track of the route !! Thanks in advance.
I did this about 4 years ago, we got a bit misplaced in drizzle and mist along the top after kauritatahi hut, just couldn't seem to pick up the right ridge towards puketutu hut, then out of the mist a dog and possum trapper appeared- set us on the right route, it was more of a drop down than we anticipated before we leveled. I cant remember many marks.
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Wow - what are the chances of that happening, pretty small one would imagine. Thanks for the post avida.
There is a Facebook group "Kaimai track and hut users" which might be able to assist. (Nice to persist any info you find out here too).
Check out these guys: www.kaimairamblers.net. I met one of the group's founders, Roger Montgomerie, a few years back; he's an encyclopedia of knowledge regarding the Kaimais. I've had a wander along parts of the ridge from both Kauritatahi and Puketutu huts but haven't crossed the whole ridge. Expect an endless mud bog with lashings of wet clay just for fun. Not many views, but beautiful bush.
Ok, so did this Friday 5th April while traversing from Maurihoro Stream Farm Style to Franklin Road. It is a 'bit of fun' if you like punishing yourself. Beta for the walk from Puketutu Hut along Te Henga Ridge to Kauritatahi Hut: Puketutu Hut -> Kauritatahi Hut -------------------------------- 3h 50m walking time 2h 30m lost time 6h 20m total time I left Puketutu 0800h went by Kauritatahi at 1420h and arrived Motutapere Hut at 1730h The front of my legs got (utterly) trashed to pieces in the scrub, worse than ever before, period, they were (and are still) very bloody messes. There is a mostly fairly decently defined route, even some track left in the more mature forested sections, but it is getting a tad overgrown. It was cloudy, wet, no wind, no view of the sun, or to the East / West so when my compass got dragged off my body crawling through the dead fall/windblown about 60-70 mins in I suddenly had difficulty deciding exactly which way to head... for 2h 30m didn't find a track marker, finally the cloud lifted, realised I had been (as was strongly suspected) crawling/walking in circles & figure eights & had not actually gone anywhere (lost compass just after the Red Marker that is on top of the Rail Line about an hour in crawling commando style - which you have to do in places). Jason from Kaimai Ridgeway had just been through 1-2 months earlier and had done a fair bit of slashing... that was really really helpful, there is also some electrical tape to assist... basically the track/route does not do anything too stupid, so you just keep going, and plenty of the permalits are still there, though admittedly plenty are now gone too haha. It was not that boggy... a wee bit towards the Northern end, but not too bad on the scale of boggy things... worst thing is the epically gnarly scrub & the places where you fall into the invisible deep narrow trenches of the actual track (leg snapping material). Recommendations: 1. Possibly consider wearing trousers of some sort 2. Use heavy tall canvas gaiters not low lite weight jobbies 3. Be prepared to navigate a little, especially if you have no GPS or view etc to orientate yourself
It seems you had a similar experience to us it was around the top of the tunnel we seemed to be misplaced- commando style crawl - yes I remember that now. Drizzle mist dont help. I kind of like the idea of redoing it again but will try to pick good weather. Well written experience.
Not commented prior to this as my experience is not recent. But in 2011 there was a good taped route along the ridgeline from just above the Wairere Falls to the hut. As stated the hut is directly above the tunnel. Falls to hut took 2.5hrs North of the hut the former trackline was obvious through the swampy scrub on the tops to Kauritatahi Hut but it was slow going as it was swampy and begining to grow over. This leg took somewhere between 2.5 & 3.5 hrs (uncertainty due to not being sure if my Kauritatahi hut photo timestammp is from before or after lunch) So either the route has deteriorated since then or there is an easier way and you missed it!
1 deleted post from mandymax
Avida yes, It is a pretty nice route, 'range cresting', and in the near future we are planning a day trip heading up the paper road just South of Thompsons to Kauritatahi for lunch, Puketutu for afternoon tea then back down to the road. Indeed - around the knob that the red metal Tunnel Marker / Trig 'A39H 814m' is positioned on the going is probably slowest... and just South of that trig through the rolls are the most problematic sections, after the trig heading Northward the terrain / scrub slowly 'eases up', and the track / route becomes less scrappy & bit more open (and boggier). It just needs some marking / tape in a few crux areas and it would be a very great deal easier to deal with. Why did they 'de-commission' this section of the N/S Track anyway? Clarification: - We are discussing the route/track Puketutu <---> Kauritatahi Huts - No hut is known about, or shows on any maps 'directly above the tunnel' - It takes ~1hr to walk northward from Puketutu Hut to the red Tunnel Marker / Trig 'A39H 814m' - There is no easier way, to walk along Te Henga Ridge Puketutu Hut <---> Kauritatahi Hut, unless via helo
Ok. My trip notes must be wrong I guess. Tramper.nz shows the hut 1km south of the tunnel, not directly above it.
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