Carrington Stream - Carrington Track
Saturday 10 October 1998
The weather forecast for the day was not too bad, but unfortunately it was largely inaccurate. (Are you reading this, Augie?). It was one of the wetter Saturday trips I can remember.
We took the long road up the Mangatarere Valley fairly early and began our trek up Carrington Creek about 8.30. The sky was hung with heavy grey clouds, and we were concerned at the amount of water already in the Mangatarere Stream, which we had to cross at the outset. As Carrington got deeper and swifter, leader John Thomson suggested we modify our route. We left the creek and climbed a spur that would take us up to Carrington Ridge.
This was probably the most attractive and pleasant part of the trip. We hadn't as yet been rained on and there were some large tree specimens, including a giant rata and lots of totara. Most of the rimu were still young, probably the result of earlier logging. We also heard a tui and cuckoo and saw a pigeon, sadly a pretty good tally for the Tararuas nowadays. Also, the usually nasty supplejack was displaying some lovely red berries. There was a bit of a marked route, which proved useful in places.
Carrington Ridge is a long one, rising to nearly 800 metres. It was here that we got into some difficulty. None of us had an altimeter, and we began to descend too early. The danger was that we would reach our Carrington tributary too soon and encounter difficult waterfalls. We climbed up onto the ridge again, and decided to go on up to the Holdsworth Track junction to orient ourselves. From there, John patiently counted 400 paces back down to our point of descent.
It was on this spur that we attempted to have lunch. It had poured down since 10:30. Imagining that the pungas above were actually umbrellas helped, but the pools in our pockets continued to fill up. John somehow did a wonderful job with boiling a billy and serving up some tea.
From here we continued back down to Carrington Stream. The tributary was by now quite high and fast, but still crossable, as was Carrington.
Up the other side, a steepish climb up to 720 metres and onto a track of sorts - very narrow and overgrown. Movement was hard going as it was still raining and the foliage was very wet. We were starting to think about hot baths. However, there was more to come. We went off the track several times because it was littered with debris and lost it substantially only an hour or two from our destination. We wandered up and down, back and forth, endeavouring to find the way out, but the visibility was so poor we wasted a good three quarters of an hour in the process, which was pretty frustrating in the very wet conditions.
However, when we did pick up the section back down to the Mangatarere Stream, it turned out to be a good piece of track (cleared, I believe, by John himself). We were soon down on the flats and managed to cross the stream and ford without too much trouble. We then had about two kilometres along the road back to John's car and some dry clothes.
Those on the trip were: John Thomson, Tony Veight and Margaret Conal (scribe).