Sayer Hut via Waiohine MF
Wednesday 14 October
In the face of a forecast of strong north westerlies in the morning and a southerly change in the afternoon, six of us set off up the track that leads to Sayer hut from the end of the Mangaterere valley road.
In anticipation of the forecast high winds on the ridge top, we took morning tea at a sunny spot on the track just below the ridge. We could have deferred morning tea to the ridge top lookout because the weather was fine, there was negligible wind and perfect views of the main range and the intervening country.
From the lookout the track runs south along the ridge. Just as it plunges downhill toward Sayer hut, some non-DOC markers pointed the way along the ridge to pt 810 and its slightly bigger sister, Waiohine. The footpad along the ridge is pretty obvious with only a couple of patches of low shrubby growth inducing brief debate as to whether we were on the route or not.
Waiohine marked the point from which we expected to start our bush-bash adventure down a series of spurs to Sayer hut. Alas - for approximately half of the route down there is a DOC trapping line complete with markers, abandoned traps and a well-trodden track. (This did not come as a complete surprise to the leader because a few days before the trip a Masterton TC member had alerted him to a DOC trapping line in the vicinity, designed to protect native bats. The trapping line has apparently been abandoned, not because of budget cuts or a policy change at DOC, but because the ungrateful bats decided to decamp to some other location without leaving a forwarding address.)
About half-way down to the hut, at an impressive gable end, we shook off the trapping line and navigated our way down several spurs to the Sayer Stream. The spurs are relatively open and easy travelling and the toe easier to navigate on two feet than the elevation lines on the map indicated. The highlight of this section was a patch of very large trees with unusually configured trunks that engendered discussion as to whether they were old beech or rata or a combination of both. They were surrounded by an elevated lawn of small, knee-high, tree ferns on ground that was devoid of other plants, perhaps assiduously weeded by pigs. These trees are about 200 metres vertically above Sayer Hut and could be an interesting side trip from the hut.
While inspecting the idiosyncratically rustic Sayer hut, which seems to have escaped most modernisation, we noticed the arrival of a rather wimpy southerly – light rain and gentle breezes, as predicted by YR1. (I had always thought that it was “Sayers” hut and stream and it took YR, by refusing to produce a weather forecast for that name, to teach me that it is not multiple huts or the property of a Sayer.)
Despite the light drizzle we made such good time back over the ridge to the Mangaterere valley that some felt compelled to hold back a little to ensure that we weren’t part of an allegedly Medium/Fit trip coming in under eight hours. This route is probably only MF, due to the surprise DOC trapping track and the relatively easy lower off - track spurs.
[1 The weather-eye of the Norwegians – see https://www.yr.no]
- Party members
- Bill Allcock, Tricia French, Gerald Leather (leader and scribe), David McNabb, Janette Roberts, Lynne White.