BUSH III & IV 2006
Map S26 Carterton
During my years of involvement with the club’s annual bushcraft course it has been my good fortune to have been the beneficiary of the waving of a magic wand by the course coordinator as she/he determines the make-up of the groups of participants for the practical weekends.
This year was no exception. It was a group of keen strangers who were the recipients of Malcolm Cunningham’s wand-waving exercise; and we easily became friends on Bush II and Bush III while sharing backgrounds, common sense, laughter and the challenges of the course.
The Bush III weekend for my group was a week later than the formal Bush III, but still based at the Mount Holdsworth road-end. However, the week’s delay did not prevent the group from providing me with fine weather; openfire-cooked meals; stimulating conversation; and an unintended introduction to some territory I am not likely to ever have reason to visit again! They were so enthralled with their off-track experiences that I offered to provide another opportunity for them to see the possibilities close to Wellington. Hence, Bush IV for 2006.
On a Saturday morning in early April we set off from the picnic site near the weir in Kaitoke Regional Park. We parted the curtain of vegetation and were immediately into the bush, less than 5 metres from the cars. Dave lead us up the stream and then the group picked their way up a recognisable route on a headwater spur to Warren’s Saddle. We then followed the well-trodden track to the top of the spur that descends in an east-north-east direction to Hutt Forks. A compass confirmation and occasional markings made for straight-forward travel to just above Hutt Forks, where we had a brief stop.
Marg then lead us to almost the toe of the spur and an easy crossing of the small, steep-sided stream; and hence along to the fi rst convenient crossing place in the Eastern Hutt River. The river was up but clear, so the crossing was easily made. We then went along the track on the true right to Hutt Forks.
From Hutt Forks we followed the circular orange WRC discs up the lower section of Quoin Ridge until we came to the turn-off to the route that descends to the Eastern Hutt sidle track. Just off the crown of Quoin Ridge, out of the full effect of the chilly westerly, we made our lunch stop.
This descending route for most of its length follows a bearing close to 160o, and beyond the top of the sidle track the spur itself continues on this bearing until its abrupt end at the Eastern Hutt gorge. Adventurously, we also followed the spur to close to its end, and then turned to just south of west and descended very steeply into the Eastern Hutt. There is only one point of safe access to the river bed, and that is down a steep, narrow water course. As the river bed is much narrower here than where we crossed in the morning, the water was deeper and a bit more forceful, but being competent Bushcraft graduates, there were no dramas.
We then picked a route of least resistance along the terraces on the true left of the Eastern Hutt back to Phillips Stream. Tiring legs made a determined ascent up the access road before returning to more acceptable tramping down the Big Stump track and back to the cars. It was a ten hour day.
I had invited Dave and Marg along to share new points-of-view about offtrack travel with the group. All seemed to enjoy the diversity of terrain and vegetation on offer close to Wellington. Hopefully they will continue to get adventurously involved in future club activities.
- Party members were
- Vaughan Ames, Iain Atkinson, Marg Conal, Alison Forrest, Hao Hoang, Dave Reynolds, Murray Sutherland, and Bill Allcock (leader & scribe).