Of Aeroplanes and Things
14 October 2009
Colin promised us a plane wreck and a waterfall. He delivered not much of the first, but any amount of the second. In 1943, an Air Force Kittyhawk from Woodbourne crashed into bush near the head of Skerrets Creek. The plane’s engine is quite well down the stream, as if people have tried to bring it out; other pieces are scattered over quite a length of the TR branch above the forks. The weight of some of the pieces indicates quite a heavy plane. We didn’t see wings or fuselage. They could be somewhere on the hillside above the stream, though as the plane had guns and could carry a bomb, these parts may have been recovered after the crash - or burnt beyond recognition.
That done, we took to a short spur, crossed the McKerrow track and dropped down and over the Turere Stream by what is apparently known as the Tararua track (it has long been used by our Wednesday trippers, but is now, like most spurs in the area, a part of the kiwi re-establishment programme) and stopped, rain threatening, for an early lunch soon after dropping down the other side of the Whakanui track. We were on a spur which later brought us down to the Whakanui Stream just below the confluence of the major tributary that flows from .800 at the top of the East Whakanui track. Somewhere up here is reputedly a waterfall.
The easy going we had had so far took a turn for the worse. The rock in this gorgey stream is remarkably hard for these parts, so there is little shingle and lots of pools, cascades, log jams and, yes, waterfalls. Some quite demanding rock scrambling was required in and out of the water and most of us got wet in various places we would rather had stayed dry. Progress was slow, and a side stream at about the 500m mark was agreed to be far enough. No waterfall had stood out as the
track above (at trap EW12 – you plot your position by traps these days!) before the rain set in.
- Party members
- Colin Cook, David Ogilvie, Bill Stephenson, John Thomson (scribe)and Bill Wheeler