Holiday Day 4: Third day on the Wangapeka Track.
The third day of the tamp involved crossing the first saddle of the tramp, the Wangapeka Saddle.
The morning involved climbing up 200 meters to the top of the saddle and the going was actually quite easy. The saddle is at 1009 meters and stone hunt at just under 800 meters so several hundred meters required uphill over several kilometers.
The track passed across the river several times but the water level was so low it was super easy. From Stone Hut you can see up the valley leading to the Wangapeka Saddle and this provided some good views on the way up. At the saddle itself there is zero views which is unusual due to the number of beech trees in the area.
We ended up at the saddle by mid-morning so we continued down the other side until we reached the Karamea River which we spent the rest of day tramping alongside.
The other side of the Wangapeka is where DOC no longer maintains the track and it was a lot rougher in places, including this large rock slip we spent 20 minutes climbing up one side, across the top and then and down the other side to rejoin the track.
The total distance today is 10.4 kilometers but with all the clambering up, over and around rock and tree falls it took a while. There were sections which had overgrown and where I got quite a few cuts from the cutty grass cuts as the cutty grass simply could not be seen under the over grown ferns and tall grass.
I was feeling a lot better in the fitness department on this third day, and the walk down from the top of the Wangapeka Saddle was a gentle decent.
Also during the morning we had our first encounter with other people for days, luckily it only lasted a few seconds as we pasted people heading the opposite direction and again we were on our own including at Taipo Hut that night.
Just before the Helicopter Flat Hut there was a 3 wire bridge for use during flooding, which I had to cross just for the sake of it – quite an experience balancing within 3 wires and a large back on your back. As I was looking back at Julianne who was crossing via the river I saw several Whio who were nearby just behind her, and she got some good whio photos.
The Helicopter Flat Hut was right beside the river and there were very little sandflies so I spent as much time as possible exploring the river, trying to see whio again (but with no luck) and just enjoying the view. I saw a weka swimming across the river. I never knew weka could swim as they do not have webbed feet like a duck, but sharp pointed claws instead. The weka was not practically elegant and faced sideways for the strong current in the middle of the river but clearly has done this a number of times and got across ok. This was the third night were Julianne and I have not seen anyone which was such a great and unusual feeling – just us and the wildlife.