We hiked the Ruahines between Jan 13th and 21st. Got out on the TA again Jan 24th.
Have you ever heard of the infamous roaring forties? It's the latitudes between 40 and 50 in the Southern Hemisphere, known for their fierce winds and weather. So, New Zealand lies just across the roaring forties and there's nothing but mountains in the way of the winds coming in from the Tasman sea. Guess what happens when the winds hit the mountains? Yeah, the winds are forced straight up and increasing in strength. Where they're strongest? Oh yeah, in the saddles between the peaks. Thus, the saddles are most prone to erosion and becomes the thinnest connecting parts of the ridgeline, which you need to walk if you're in the Ruahines. Because there is no other way to get from north to south except for the ridgeline. Everything else is to steep and impossible to traverse. Need less to say that the thin ridgelines was kind of humbling in the storm force gales we encountered every day of our attempt to traverse these mountains.
The winds forced us to hunker down in huts for three and a half day in total, and at day seven we got 3°, rain and clouds on the peaks we were going to traverse off trail, increasing winds. Also I only had one day of food left. We decided to turn back to a big and beautifully located hut called sunrise hut. The weather forecast told us that the next morning were supposed to be fine so we decided to wake up to see the sunrise. After all, sunrise hut should've earned its name right?
This is what we got:
We also met a super cool couple from Palmerston North who invited us to their home the following day. We felt done with the Ruahines at this point so the offer to stay was accepted with gratitude and relief. Anthony and Fiona were sorting out their logistics for a northbound alternative to the TA, pretty much what we did. Super cool! They were also founders of the Ruahine Whio Protectors so they knew the Ruahines well. Trapping for possum, stout and other rodents eating whio eggs. Whio is a native NZ duck that only exists in a few hundred individuals near white water streams.
We stayed four days at Anthony and Fiona's, Super relaxing. They liked inviting hikers to their home so to prove our stay we carved in some initials in their porch table!