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Trip Reports 2005-06-01 Kaitoke-Smith Creek-Upper Farm Creek

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This article was first published in the Tararua Tramper in May 2006

Kaitoki Forest Park – Smith Creek Track – Bump 560m – Upper Farm Creek – Bump 705m

Wednesday 1 June 2005

The eleven of us departed the car park about 9am on a fine cool morning. We went up to the Puffer Saddle and down the Smith Creek Track to a known side-creek, past the eastern turn-off for bump 714m. We crossed the next side-creek on our left (Bruce and Kerry checked out this spur with me on a half day some weeks before). Today we calculated we had about 310m / 1010 ft to climb to the Dobson Track.

Overnight rain had made all vegetation wet so parkas were worn despite no precipitation. Our spur was open for most of the way, with only a few obstacles – old mossy windfalls. Underfoot, groves of attractive kidney fern glistened with moisture while a few greasy pitches reminded us that summer was over. On reaching the Dobson Track we went north on it for about 10 minutes to find a lunch place in weak sunshine and almost shelter from a cold north-westerly.

After lunch, it was north again for several minutes to find the marker tree turn-off for Upper Farm Creek – a route Michael Bartlett and I pioneered some years ago. To begin, a short brief climb. Then a steep winding slope west down to a narrow side-creek on our right which coursed through drifting shingle to place in the windfall debris of Upper Farm Creek. Now we had a steep climb west up to bump 705m (south-west of Dobsons) of about 245m / 800 ft. The lower bush face to begin with was steep and greasy so care was needed. Higher up, the gradient lessened now that “drainage slopes” were left behind.

At the forest head, we swung left to avoid the dracophyllum belt above us. Also the intention was to approach 705m from its south-westerly extremity so that the party could experience the full rocky plateau. However, on emerging from the final scrub, a dry gale force north-westerly nearly knocked us over. More clothes were quickly donned.

Cameras captured the views north and east before we were glad to descend north on the old route recently upgraded by Michael B and me. A brief reminisce at the Dobson fireplace. On the way back to Kaitoke, I showed some members who didn’t know, the top entry point of Joe Gibbs old track – which is still in fair order. There was some new terrain for most of the party, and we were lucky not to have rain which at times looked imminent. We were out by 3.45pm.

The party was
Sue Cuthbertson, Rhonda Billington, Glenys Evans, Masaki Kojima, Dave Dyett, Bruce Popplewell, David Ogilvie, Kerry Popplewell, John Hill, John Thomson and Peter Jagger (leader and scribe).

Page last modified on 2006 Jun 15 07:33

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