Smith's Creek - Point 714 - Smith's Creek
31 July 1999
This was originally set down as John Thomson's Saturday trip over Reeves and down the Tauherenikau to Kiwi Ranch for that evening's 80th anniversary celebrations. However, at the last minute John could not come. This, and the difficulty in arranging suitable transport for only four people to the start of the Reeves Track, forced a change of plans. Because none of us (certainly not the substitute leader!) had been up Point 714, this was chosen as an alternative.
The four of us set off in half hearted sunshine which changed to rain as we turned on to the old Smith's Creek track just over the stream on the far side of the Puffer. We left the track at about Point 270 beyond the first deeply-cut side-stream and, after negotiating a short flat, started up the steep ridge to the east. To our surprise we found that we were following rough markers through fairly open bush.
The ridge flattened out somewhat as we approached Point 714 and we were pleased and surprised to be entertained for several minutes by a very noisy kaka - not often seen in the Tararuas, at least so close to the road-end.
At Point 714 we set off due north down the ridge towards the Smith's Creek/Tauherenikau confluence. However, a little further on some faulty navigation by the leader meant that we took the left fork rather than the right one - in both senses of the word. The rain was still pretty steady and, after a very damp lunch, rather than retrace our steps we continued down this ridge and the steep face near the bottom to rejoin Smith's Creek near Shepperds Stream. Then a quick trip back over the Puffer to a hot shower at Kiwi Ranch.
Trip members: Helen Beaglehole, Robert Murray-Brown, Kerry Popplewell, Bruce Popplewell (leader and scribe).