Wednesday, September 15, 2010

HB Gem

After a very cold stint in Wanaka/Christchurch I made it back to the Hawkes Bay on the back of a storm (and in front of an earthquake) so all of the rivers were up nice and high. I'd already recruited my little sis Harry to paddle with as she was on uni holidays. We scavenged a couple of boats and made our way up our road (the Napier/Taihape) to check out a section on the Tutaekuri river (unfortunate name that, means dog shit...) The Tutaekuri is one of the bigger rivers emptying into the Bay and for most of it's length is super shallow and braided. However right up the top it's got a bit of gradient where it drops off the Kaweka ranges.

The reason this section hadn't been run was because of two waterfalls marked on the topo map - an 8m and a 5m, which given the nature of the gorge they're in would be pretty full on to just bomb into. We'd already scouted the section prior to our Cali trip though and we were surprised to find no big drops, either the topo map was wrong (gasp) or they had been filled in with shingle from a big flood.

Anyway, Harry and I set the shuttle and walked the 15 knee destroying minutes down the Mackintosh track to the put in.

This is the first view you get of the run and the put in - pretty choice!!

As soon as we got on we found ourselves committed in a super deep and pretty inescapable gorge. The rapids alternate between little bouldery 3/4 numbers and some super fun little slides and bedrock sections.

Harry on her first creeking outing on a cool little slide with a bit of an undercut to keep the heart going

The bedrock section in the middle is super fun and waterslidey and will be sick when we get in there when she's pumping. There's a cool six foot sloper...

The point and shoot not quite up to the old 'hold the button down and get more than one shot deal'

and not coping very well with moving kayaks and lack of light. Harry testing the depth - it's deep.

The end of the bedrock section is the crux of the run with a boulder garden enticing you down and then swinging left and tightening up into a very Waihohonu-ish box hole complete with a recirculating eddy. This alone will be the deciding factor for super high water runs - not sure if it will get worse or wash out. You can't really scout or portage it either so it will be interesting...

Harry about to discover the joys of paddling upstream out the back of an eddy. It's steeper than it looks in the photo and the right hand side had a bit of a cavey pockety thing.

After this rapid there were lots more boulder gardens and another cool grade 2/3 gorge where a big side creek comes in from the right.

Harry soaking it all in in the super cool gorges.

This run was super fun and ideal for someone just getting into creeking with nothing too hard and minimal sieves/wood to deal with. Any less water than we had would make the boulder gardens pretty average. It's a mean run for us to have on the back doorstep and adds that little bit more to the area.
Not really sure who reads this stuff but if you're from the HB canoe club it would be a mean run for you to use. I've got a more guidebook type write up I can send you.

As for now I've moved back to the falls and straight back into epic spring conditions for the Kaimais. The boys have been going hard with Tuakopai, Waipapa and even a Whatakau run. To top it off we jumped on the Wainui the other day and had one of the sickest days boating I've done in NZ. Can anyone say 60 footer...

1 comment:

  1. Greta post Sam - looks like an awesome creek. I'm guessing it was too crowded with other yaks?