Rae Ridge day trip
8 September 2007
Rae Ridge is located in the Western Tararuas and starts on the true left bank of Sheridan Creek at the confluence of Sheridan Creek and the Waiotaruru River at S26 968331, and finishes at the summit of Dennan. Trips on Rae Ridge once featured regularly on the club fixture card but more recently have become rather less frequent, except for private trips. Rae Ridge offers a very good tramping experience, combining a mixture of forest and tops travel with some challenging navigation, especially when descending.
One disadvantage with ascending Rae Ridge was a wetting of the boots at the start of the trip when crossing the Waiotauru River. The dry foot option of crossing the swing bridge and following the terraces on the true right of the Waiotauru is no longer viable since the this route is very overgrown and almost impossible to follow.
Once in the river the water did not seem too cold and we were soon making our way up the steep trail through patches of scrub regenerating on former farm land. The start is marked with blue tape at the foot of Rae Ridge. Once in the bush proper the foot pad can be followed with care as there are many windfalls and old logging tracks dating from activities during the 1930s. to east of south. An area of faded yellow paint on some trees marks the route through a small saddle at 974320 and onto bump 668m. Leaving bump 668, there is a direction change to east of north for about 100m, then back to east of south. Bump 668 was a good spot for morning tea, but a keen breeze made it a spot not to linger.
Travel is now more straight forward as far as bump 732, where there is another direction change from east of south to east for about 150m, then back to east of south into an area of trees with red insulation tape and through a small saddle at 994290. The ridge starts to steepen up as the leatherwood belt is approached. A trail has been cut through the leatherwood making the final ascent to Dennan very straightforward through light scrub and tussock on an easterly bearing.
Above the bush line, conditions were rather pleasant - not too cold, very little breeze, but misty, as the cloud was at about 1100m. After lunch we made our way to Dennan’s summit and then down to the Judd Ridge track, and were soon below the cloud enjoying a good view of the distant Otaki Forks. Some distance past Table Top we met a tramper intending to camp on Table Top, and at Fields was a party of three headed for Kime.
After afternoon tea we passed two parties making their way up for a night at Fields. On arrival at the day car park it was good to not have a road walk to collect the car, which we had left by the bridge. It was good to reacquaint ourselves with the good tramping and challenges Rae Ridge has to offer.
- Party members
- Marg Conal, Ken Fraser and Dave Reynolds (scribe).