Friday, October 06, 2006

Cattle Ridge - 3rd trip into the Tararua Range

Looking Down On Roaring Stag Hut half way up the ridge
A view From The Top

Steep Country

Cattle Ridge Hut

Louise Picks Up a Hitchhiker

Anyone who has been above the bush line in the Tararua Ranges will know what I mean when I say the best places in the world are difficult to get to.

Cattle ridge, located about 1200 meters above sea level, near Ekatahuna, has got to be one of the most spectacular places I've ever been. Two hours scramble straight up from Roaring Stag Hut, it's certainly a slog but being my first trip above the bush line it was well worth the effort.

Leaving the road end at 10am on Saturday our editor Nick Boyack, his partner Louise and I wandered on through some really nice bush crossing a couple of swing bridges before dropping down into a boggy patch of track and onto roaring stag for lunch.

After a little apprehension on my part (from looking up at the ridge we were about to climb) we set off. It wasn't as bad as I had thought, however, I was glad to reach the hut by the end.

The bush and terrain change quickly as you gain altitude going from large patches of ferns and trees which gradually get shorter until they disappear completely giving way to the tussock and leather wood.

It's a great feeling looking down on roaring stag hut from the top.

With the weather closing in we settled in to the hut for the night. Unfortunately I had to brave the weather on several occasions to feed my smoking habit, much to the delight of the anti-smokers in the party. Built in the 1960s, the hut has to be roped to the ground due to the high winds in the area.

Thankfully there was no snoring (at least I didn't hear any) but heavy rain managed to keep me awake for a while.

Louise discovered during breakfast that she had picked up a hitchhiker after finding a weta in her jacket.

Sunday morning we set off again back down the track which had become quite slippery overnight, and stopped at Roaring Stag again for lunch.

The track out from there had become very boggy and by the end we had all given up trying to avoid the mud. My new boots held up though and I was the only one left with dry feet.

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