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Monday, May 7, 2012

(Almost)Koropuku(Big Tops) Hut - 5-6th May 2012

Uncle Roddus tramping Diary:Tramo No 120
(Almost)Koropuku(Big Tops) Hut - 5-6th May 2012

Uncle Alan suggested doing this trip on this weekend as the weather forecast was looking pretty good. A magnificent High had parked itself right smack over the Island and the conditions were absolutely perfect in the mountains. I hadn't yet been to Koropuku Hut and was excited to get in there, Frank and Honora had also been doing some track maintenance on this route now abandoned by DOC.
 I left home at 6:00am to meet Alan at Aickens Corner and we left the cars around 8:15am on the aforementioned perfect day. After crossing the Otira River we picked up the marked route heading up the Taramakau River, weaving in and out of the bush and following a farm track up to Pfeifer Creek where we head into the bush completely, following Pfeifer Creek. This track, being the route to Lake Kaurapataka and the Otehake hot springs, is well maintained and is a great little walk through some magnificent forest peppered with enormous Red Beech and Miro and the occasional Rimu. We stopped at the lake around 11:00am where there is an excellent camp site overlooking a beautiful lake and enjoyed the warm sun for a few minutes before heading off again to the Otehake River where we had lunch.
After lunch it was time for the big slog up the track onto the tops and looking at the two tracks heading off from the orange triangle marker we erroneously decided that the track to the left was a flood route heading back down to the Taramakau and that the track we wanted must start near the old bridge. So we took the right track heading up stream to where we found the remaining bridge anchors still in the rock and then started looking for the track. But the time we had climbed through the bush for several minutes we knew then that we were not on a track but decided to continue climbing as we figured we would come across it soon enough. After about 20 minutes of crashing through reasonably easy bush we finally found the track and proceeded to follow a pretty well marked track up through the bush, the plentiful permolat markers allowing for easy route finding around the several windfalls.
The climb to the bush line is about 750M and seemed to go on forever but I finally broke through after about 2.25 hours and had to settle down in the glorious sunshine in a lovely clearing and wait for Uncle Alan, who was a bit slower due to his dodgy leg. Unfortunately it took him an additional 45 minutes to reach me and by the time he rested and refueled, we had lost over an hour. By this time we were starting to think about a high camp instead of continuing down to the hut. We continued heading up through the scrub, aided by some cairns and a patchy track before reaching the benched area where we followed the occasional cairns and climbed up to the group of tarns east of point 1259. We lost the route a couple of times but eventually got to where we needed to be. It was clear by now that we weren't going to make it down to the hut before dark and Alan was feeling it a bit as well so we set up camp by the tarns and enjoyed a very calm and clear evening supplemented by a very impressive full moon.
Sunday continued with the exceptional weather and after breakfast we clambered up onto the tops beside us and got some great views down into the Karapuku and Otehake valleys. I seriously considered shooting up to point 1656 but after consideration decided it might take too much time and I wanted not to get out too late. We left camp at about 9:00am and headed back out the way we came. After stopping at the clearing just above the bushline to enjoy the awesome views of the lake below, Mt Pfeifer and Mt Alexander etc... we set off down the track back to the Otehake. I got down in about 1 hour and 10 minutes but had to wait over an hour for Alan as his leg gives him more trouble going down. We stopped again at the lake before the final push to get back to the cars.

Early morning in the Tareamakau.

Following the farm track in the Taramakau.
looking up Pfeifer Creek with Mt Pfeifer in the background.

The Track to lake Kaurapataka.

"The Larch"

Uncle Roddus at lake Kaurapataka

One of the lakes inhabitants.

"The Larch"

"The Lake"

"The Track"

A moss poodle

Just above the bush line waiting for Alan.

The Lake from above.

Mt Pfeifer.
Traveling along the tops, where we're going.

Where we've been.
A Nice spot for a night out on the tops.

Exploring on Sunday Morning

Point 1656.

Looking into the upper Otehake.
Plenty of camping spots up here.

More tarns

The drop off point down to Koropuku

Mt McRae.


The Koropuku Hut, at least we hot to see it.
This little guy followed me for a bit.

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