The weather forecast for the Waikato better than Auckland for this tramp, we set off in Big Yellow. Coming into Huntly there is an abundance of low cloud and mist hanging around the big hills.
Before entering the track at the northern end of Hakarimata we utilised the big boot station to ensure our gear was squeaky clean ready for the track. We were quite surprised, so early in the day, as a few trail runners blasted ahead of us up the masses of steps. This end the steps are a bit more gently graded and easier on the quads. We elected not do the Kauri Loop and get into it.
At the first proper lookout we took the opportunity to take some photos and probably just as well we did, as the fog moved almost straight away creating an atmospheric mist around the undulating ridge line, with the highest point at the southern end of the range of 374 metres.
Certain areas of this track obviously weren't logged in the distant past, due to exceptionally steep drop offs, as some of the trees are significantly large. Some extremely impressive Rimu that must be many hundreds of years old with ruler straight stems making it obvious why they logged them.
We were impressed with the diverse array of fungi and ganoderma everywhere. We spotted some about 15 metres up a stem that must have steering wheel sized!
As we neared the high point, big wooden look out, the sky dropped all the rain that it had been holding, as there was no view due to the heavy fog still hanging around and the rather heavy liquid sunshine we elected to keep shifting and made a beeline for the 1300 odd steps back down to Ngaruawahia. A lot of these steps and handrails are additional to what was put in place about 3 years ago to protect the massive numbers of very large Kauri and Ricker Kauri (baby). Although we were very mystified by the lack of a boot station at the Southern end given the huge numbers of Kauri here.
The skies still heavily persisting we chatted to lots of people as they were going up, most not actually didn't go right up, due to the weather.
Nearing the bottom, you pass the original Ngaruawahia Reservoir, that has been long de-commissioned and our favourite waterfall for cooling summer dips! This bit of the track is quite magical with the purple'ish tinged ferns lining the very steep ravine, with the stream starting to gush after the heavy rain.
We were all very pleased to get back to the bus after a good 6 hour tramp, ready to go pick up the other cross-over group and head back.