Off track exploration with a difference
Saturday 4th April
Usually members of this group go looking for places without tracks but on Saturday 4th April we went track cutting, clearing the old logging road between Waiotauru Forks and Tregear Stream. This track had become very overgrown with toitoi and gorse, making for difficult and unpleasant access to the Eastern Waiotauru catchments.
We left the fence line car park at 8.30am, easily negotiating the large slip 10 minutes up valley, and, as the river was at a low level, arriving at the Forks at 10.30am. We stopped for morning tea in the sun at the start of the logging track that leads to the Eastern Waiotauru.
From here the work started, slashing away at toitoi, scrub and even hydrangeas in one spot. We crossed the river where the logging bridge used to be; the track could hardly be seen and I marveled that in 1971 I had driven a car in here. We kept clearing until we reached the flat area where logs were loaded. Here we stopped for lunch about 12.30pm.The sun was out - it was a perfect autumn day and rather pleasant.
After lunch we kept clearing to the Tregear Steam junction, where we decided it would be more interesting to return via Rae Ridge. The first 150 metres were a steep and vine-covered ascent out of the stream, but we had Neil in front with a set of loppers, which made things easier. We then found a logging track which led up the ridge making for good progress, but like most logging tracks, it decided to go a different way from us. On up the ridge and the going was easy apart from numerous windfalls which we had to pick our way round. At about 550 metres the ridge turns to the Nth East, where we found another logging track coming up from the valley, which led us up to Bump 668 and the intersection with Rae Ridge. From here we thought the hard part was over but we had a bum steer with pink ribbon and odd ridges, however we knew we were safe when we met seven members of the Palmerston North Tramping Club coming up ridge on a SAR exercise. Some more twists and turns and we found the old logging track which leads down to the grassy clearings and the camping ground was in sight. We were back at our car park at 6.10pm, nearly 10 hrs after we started, finishing a trip with a difference….we cleared a track and I think we all felt well-satisfied.