Kashmir Road to Awatere, Makaretu and Happy Daze Huts . 8 Dec.

This was listed as going via Longview, down to Top Gorge, the forecast was average but wind was forecast and at the road end it was quite unpleasant…so a decision to modify the arrangements was put into practise. In rain we ascended to the ridge track to Awatere in strong wind, taking an hour to get there. Present at the hut were two guys, one the father of a rising 3-year-old boy who had walked all the way in and was a hard case little chatty character. He might have struggled on the way out.

On down to the junction of the north and south branches of the Makaretu River in two hours, then up the south branch to Makaretu hut which took the stated one hour. After the ridge track on the way in from the road end, rain coats were not needed but just as we all got inside the hut, the skies literally opened up for fifteen minutes while we all appreciated lunch in the hut. Back down to the river junction, Janice and Murry went directly to Awatere while Colin and self side tracked to visit Happy Daze hut for the first time ever, a rustic hut with heaps of firewood and camping space. For a river trip that spanned eight hours, we all had nearly dry boots at Makaretu as the river was very low.

On the home-ward journey we did not try to keep dry feet and booted it back to Awatere hut then continued on up the river a little to check out the headwaters for a future trip up to Longview. We this arrived a little later than Janice and Murry who were sheltering from the wind in Colin’s car. My wind meter recorded a maximum gust 119.1km/hr on the ridge on the way out.  The wind up on Longview ridge would have been much worse than down the bottom so we felt the route change decision was justified. I had not done this river trip before; it was easy going but the lower half of it must double the distance due to repeated large bends that meander like a snake. A busy day and pleasant company.

Party: Janice L, Murry A, Colin J and John M.

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