Orongorongo frolics, M/F trip
Saturday 10 November 2007
This trip was a bit of a navigational nightmare, and in retrospect would have been better done in reverse. We knew it was going to be difficult but we might have succeeded if the visibility on the east side of the ridge was not blotted out by mist at the critical time (clear weather was forecast).
Eight of us set off from Catchpool and walked up the river to Big Bend. The spur from Big Bend goes south-east directly up to the ridge at Bump 701. We found this to be a good spur with very little supplejack, but frequent bush lawyer. On the ridge top there were plenty signs of deer as expected. The plan was to drop down to the short spur leading to forks in the upper part of Mukamuka Stream. This spur has a flat part at 771824. From this spur we planned to drop down to the forks in the Mukamuka, then return via South Saddle and Goat Stream. On the map this looked like a nice short friendly walk (only 4km).
The problem was where to drop off the main ridge. The map shows Bump 701 and another bump of similar height only 100m to the NE. We needed to head down at this second bump which would lead us directly to the spur which only becomes well defined 130m lower down. We expected to find Bump 701 immediately to our left at the ridge top, and sure enough there were several bumps that seemed to qualify. We passed them and continued NE for what seemed some considerable distance. There were plenty of bumps to choose from, all about the same height, and plenty of different opinions about which was which. Most of us were convinced we had come far enough, so a decision was made and we set off on a SSE bearing down the hill.
The slope was easier to the right so in descent we veered to the right, sidling across a stream at one point. At 530m on the altimeter, we were on very steep ground peering through the mist at a ridge high above us. We should have been on the flat part of our spur. There was nothing much to be done so we had lunch hoping for inspiration. Russell tried his GPS without any luck.
Nothing for it but retreat back up to the main ridge! We went back over the by-now-familiar bumps, following our own footsteps. Only a short distance beyond we came out to a clearing above the Goat Stream Slip. Now we knew definitely where we were on the map. In retrospect we should have located this clearing in the first place, then located the headwaters of the stream due south which in turn would have led us to our spur. Return was down Goat Spur to the lower sidle track from South Saddle, then NW down a spur, past Bump 346, into the true left branch of Matthews Stream.
- Party members
- Dave Bartle, Neil Challands, Colin Cook, Russell Cooke, Janette Roberts, Sieny Pollard, Tim Stone, Ken Fraser (leader & scribe).