Otaki Forks - Waitatapia - Gorge Stream
Saturday 23 March 2002 (map S26)
A weary tramper descending Judd Ridge from Kime or Bridge Peak might find distraction from aches and pains by viewing the myriad wandering ridges of the Waiotauru and its branches on the left, or glimpsing Elder and Quoin tucked away to the south west. Or, looking north, musing on Gorge Creek, under the steep flanks of Waitatapia, tumbling south to join the Otaki in its gorge. Does gorge refer to the Creeks’ destination, or are there places wet, rocky and bluffy awaiting those who venture there?
The trip began at Otaki Forks. We crossed the Otaki bridge on the track to Waitewaewae Hut, went up the track to the terrace and immediately tackled the steep spur running east. A route through the vegetation was easily found, although the first twenty minutes were definitely PAAP country (puff at any pace). Gaining the ridge after an hour or so we continued north east over Waitatapia and associated bumps, and then east to drop into the saddle (016351) at the head of Gorge Creek.
The head of the valley was steep, demanding caution and perhaps signalling stirring times ahead. Not as it turned out. The valley floor soon flattened and the descent became benign. And so it continued down to about the 300m contour. After lunch we found it expeditious to sidle on the true right and the trip fizzled just a little. The sidling was unrewarding, the climb back up to Waitatapia waited us and Gorge Creek was becoming somewhat distant. So we left its lower half kilometre for another day.
Our exit was via the marked route starting about five minutes south of the survey pipe on the top of Waitatapia (?). This provided good travel down to the Waitewaewae Track joining it at about 999353 on the true right of a small stream.
Party members were Bill Allcock, Yvonne Ashworth, Dave Bartle, Dave Castle, Colin Cook (leader/scribe), Ken Fraser, Sieny Pollard, Dave Reynolds, Tim Stone.