Catchpool – Baker Trig – new route to river – Brown’s Track – Cattle Ridge – untracked spur
Wednesday 1 December 2004
It was a fine, warm morning as the 8 of us left the car park about 9am. A steady climb of the Butcher Track raised a little perspiration. A new surprise slightly west of the Baker Trig concerned us. A recently bulldozed-out rectangle of about an acre gave the impression of a building site. None of us had known of this, but we were aware of private land there.
We then went down the Matai Spur for about 2 minutes before turning north on a cleared route which gave views of the Peak east of the river bed. Some minutes travel brought us back to the fence which we hopped over, to place us on the Cattle Ridge Track.
A few minutes travel north saw us at this newish side-track leading mostly north-east down to the Orongorongo River. The beech forest soon gave way to punga, fern and nikau groves on this delightful descent. At the river bed we were well south of Nettle Stream. One river braid flowed under this western bank about a year ago but is now far away. The water level was low as we walked upriver, to have lunch under the shady, rocky bank at the base of Paua Ridge. Just before arriving there we noticed that erosion had torn away the bank below where the old Tainui Track began. The Tainui Hut was destroyed by a windfall in 1969.
We crossed to Brown’s Track and regained Cattle Ridge easily, except a sidle for some minutes around a huge windfall. Once on Cattle Ridge we continued south, well beyond the apex, to look for the untracked spur immediately north of the Butcher Track. Sue and I found the right place which had been almost obliterated by a large windfall. Sue and I then worked as a team to closely observe the foot route, blocked here and there by small debris. We reached the Orongorongo Track correctly at the spur base - a route Michael Bartlett and I discovered some years ago. Then back to the car park by 4pm. A lovely, sunny day, with new ground for most of the party.
Dave Dyett’s note on the Baker Trig development: After the trip Dave contacted his nephew (a DoC staff member) who said the previous landowner (farmer Lister) had sold the land to a Mr Thomas who intended to build a residence nearby. This probably means that there is unlikely to be tramping access west from the Baker Trig in the future.
- Party members
- Dave Dyett, Sue Cuthbertson, Bruce Popplewell, Kerry Popplewell, Barbara Camfield, David Podmore, Jim Peebles, and Peter Jagger (leader and scribe).