I joined a PNTMC tramp to Stanfield Hut today, just the three of us, in glorious weather, about 23C, warm but not too hot. They had a lovely new sign there at the beginning of the walk, and we could clearly see the little 'grunt' we faced at the beginning to climb up to Holmes Ridge.... nothing like the grunt to get up to the top of the ranges on the other side though! However, four months after getting home in a fit state, I was appalled to find that after winter laziness, I found it a real grunt up that hill!! (Mind you, it was quite steep and rugged underfoot, and I don't recall anything quite so tough on the Camino..... or maybe there was and I was fitter then!!!) No photos of the grunt.... I was too busy holding onto trees getting my breath back as I climbed!!
After climbing the grunty hill, we reached a 4WD road, then walked along the ridge top for a while, until it was time to descend again back down to the river. We had a short break before we tackled the river section, and there I distinguished myself by grabbing hold of some ongaonga- native stinging nettle- as I passed. Ouch!!! Not nice!!! I plunged my hand into the stream a few times to feel the cool water and try to reduce the stinging feel.
Twenty minutes or so later, we reached the hut and ate lunch in the sunshine. Too nice to sit in the hut. This native clematis was flowering near the long drop.
The return trip was via the river, and we walked along the river in the sunshine, and crossed the river numerous times.....numerous numerous numerous times.... as you do sometimes in Kiwiland. Water level was quite low though. Lots of debris still lying around from the 2004 floods when the water level would have looked completely different through here. Various plants starting to colonise the rocky areas.
And just to finish off, this is a shot of some ongaonga I saw as we were ending our tramp. Looks vicious doesn't it, with all those nasty looking spines. Next time someone warns me there is ongaonga nearby, I will try to remember their warning as I pass!!!