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Kaweka 2 Day 1

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Day 1 (Tuesday 2nd March 2010): Despite dividing the communal gear evenly and leaving two sets for Ian and Graham, the more "perishable" food got left behind (never to be seen again). However, we did alright in the food department without any margarine, cheese, spring onions, mini-peppers and cherry tomatoes!

Track map
Route map (click)

Keith in chopper JS0662

Crossing Kaweka ridges KB3831

The last ridge KB3834

Our helicopter ride was, well let's say typical for a small chopper, somewhat bumpy and the curved weathered perspex windscreen making impressive crisp photos difficult (that's my excuse anyway). The flight went over a number of bush ridges, the last looming 200m above our flight altitude as we swung right to land on a tiny pad above the hut. On leaving the chopper I discovered my polarising lens had come away from its screw thread which remained jammed on the lens! *!##**! Oh well, all remaining photos are without filters - polarised, uv or haze!

The two Johns had by now climbed a knob behind the hut to watch for the chopper's return. I decided to make the best of what was left of the lens & filter and keep on shooting!

Keith & chopper JS0671

Leaving for the second trip KB3837

Two Johns waiting KB3850

The chopper returning KB3851

Can you see Graham? KB3854

Alighting the Ballard pad KB3856

Ballard Hut JS0687

This was just our "drop off" point, we still had to tramp to Tira Lodge. Above us was a 200m verticle climb onto the western ridge of Whetu (northern tip of the Kaweka Range) with our packs the heaviest they would be for the trip. Little questions like "Why didn't we get the pilot to drop us off on top of the ridge?" and "What was I thinking bringing all that booze and a hard-cover book?" began to pop into my mind.... Ian and Graham took off (undoubtedly helped by no "perishable" supplies) while I just plodded up, planning ways to lighten my load next time!

The views on top were excellent, the scenery magestic (and the track now went in the right direction - down!).

Keith plodding up JS0688

Ian reaches the goal IB1263.jpg

Graham with a view IB1265

Keith plodding up JS0695

Composit view of coming onto the tops KB3865-6

The others wait KB_3867

and a closer view KB3869

Scenery on the tops KB3870

Graham heads off JS0702

and down we go JS0705

but 270m up again was tough JS0706

This fungus looks like what I felt like KB3873

The last kilometer to Tira Lodge crossed twelve 20m contours (a 250m climb), which combined with my overly heavy pack and evaporating sweat got me totally exhausted and a wee bit hypothermic. Ian and John helped me up the very last bit but I needed to warm up and eat something before I felt any better. It was amazing what 30 minutes in a down sleeping bag can achieve. Then it was time to get up and cook tea! No-one seemed to mind reducing my pack load by drinking some of my heavier items!!

Reviving JS0713

Dinner was soup followed by Kaweka (of course) Butter Chicken with added ChopChop! Chicken Chunks on Sun Long Grain Rice. I added Maggi Butter Chicken flavouring as the Kaweka brand was a bit bland for the team's exotic taste. Each evening we also had dried fruit including strawberries, peaches, goldenapples, mango, papaya (and the usual pineapple, apricots & prunes). We agreed to take less and lighter fruit in the future!

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