Altitude: 944m to 1089m. Gain: 73m. Loss: 195m . Gradient: 3 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Streams (2/5)
The head of the Harkness at Tussock Hut lives up to the hut's name – a broad, gentle, V of a valley, clad in golden tussock. The track crosses the trickle of a stream and sidles the western face. The valley becomes slowly scrubbier as we head downstream – tussock becoming low scrub , later rising to waist height. The poled track changes from a foot-worn slot between tussocks to a full 1.5m-wide, cut Kaweka track. The gentle valleysides become steeper and rocky, and finally the track abandons efforts to sidle and drops to the Harkness River – now a couple of meters wide. Some 20 crossing follow – most of which can be hopped across with dry feet intact, but near the end there’s one which always catches me out. Fill your boots! The route should be navigable in all but extreme rain,
The track junction (on the western bank at the major forks) for the turnoff to Harkness Hut is signposted.