Waitohu - Thompson - Mick
Saturday 1 May 1999
A fine, clear weather forecast earlier in the week changed to rain overnight, and I fully expected a damp day and some early morning cancellations. However, Saturday trippers are tough, and there were in fact, two extras at the meeting point at Mana at 7.30am. As things turned out, the weather further north was calm, dry and warm by the time we met up with Bill and Chris from Waikanae and Wayne from Manakau at the entrance to Quarry Road, just north-east of Otaki. Drivers left their cars at the implement shed of the farm, nervously eyeing the young bull confined in the same paddock.
On a recce two weeks earlier, I had decided to take the reverse direction, as the advertised Thompson-Mick route had been done only a year earlier. We followed the Waitohu Valley for just over an hour and easily found the orange marker I had left to begin the climb up to Mick.
It is a stiff grunt up to Mick, via a spur that is not particularly well-defined. However, the old track is still reasonably easy to follow despite a lot of large windfalls. We were fortunate to come upon the perfect picnic spot right on morning tea time, and also took a diversion to a wrecked aircraft just below our target height of 863m.
We left our bags at the 863 junction and took a side trip to Mick, with Dave and Bill locating an excellent view of the coast through a tangle of shrubbery. Lunch was back at the junction.
The track along to Thompson from Mick is also much altered by windfalls and a compass was handy at times as the ridge and associated spur curved around from east-of-north to west-of-north. This track took us onto a 4WD road and down to a junction which led off to Thompson.
Once again we dropped our bags and took a side route to Thompson. (I might add, I was keeping a close eye on Head of Science Dave Reynolds, who was taking an intense interest in the mass of tadpoles in a puddle at the junction and fumbling for his thermos flask.) The view from Thompson was magnificent; local Wayne Griffin gave us a wonderful rundown on what was what locally and also demonstrated an impressive botanical knowledge.
There was still a couple of hours to go on the 4WD road, so we reluctantly headed off again at 2.30. The road is tedious and hard on the knees and feet, but the bush is gorgeous. We were back at the cars at 4.30, exactly 8 hours after we had set out.
Those on the trip were: Bill Allcock, Marg Conal (leader and scribe), Colin Cook, Glenys Evans, Ken Fraser, Wayne Griffin, Peter Jagger, Chris Lakomy, Gordon McKenzie, Chris Pinfield, Dave Reynolds and Tim Stone.