Otaki Waterfall - No Show
8 April 2011
A Google Images search on 'Otaki waterfall' produces pictures of a cascade in Japan. Jonathan Kennett in his recent clubnight presentation confirmed there is also a modest two to three metre high waterfall in our Otaki: in the gorge about 200m below Kahiwiroa Stream confluence. With such precise information a day trip to view the beast seemed unavoidable.
A brisk start got us to Plateau Stream in two hours. From there we went off-track, making slow progress south over the Plateau (staying close to or in the Stream) to pick up the spur rising to southern Bump 860 which lies on the ridge overlooking the western side of the gorge. A good animal trail up the spur. Numerous sightings of trees blazed on both up and down sides and also some paint suggested the route was once well used. However beyond the spur top we saw no more markers apart from much more recent trap lines extending west from south of both Bump 860s.*
Cresting the ridge we maintained our direction of travel, descending a short stub spur to about 700m (740m would have been better) before sidling south to pick up the major spur which was to lead us down to the river. Progress slowed dramatically as we encountered what was presumably carnage from the famous 1936 storm: massive mossy remnants of former forest giants still demanding care and attention. At 12.30pm, four and a half hours into the trip, at an altitude of about 630m, we called a halt. With about 350m more descent to the river (requiring at least another hour) then terrain of unknown difficulty to traverse north towards the presumed location of the waterfall followed by a biggish climb out the trip was turning into an epic.**
Returning, we followed our spur back up to the main ridge (confirming that it would be difficult to pick up for a descent) then headed north to catch the spur running west then northwest from just south of northern Bump 860. Along the way we crossed a massive recent windfall in the saddle between the two Bumps 860 and on the descent spur at higher altitudes endured slow travel over or around numerous local bumps.
About ten hours GOTOWO; it seems the longer days of mid-summer will be needed if the trip is to be accomplished.
There was also the day trip maxim: if you're still heading away from the roadend after lunch the trip may end in tears. Especially valid with the earlier sunsets following the end of daylight saving
- Party members
- Neil Challands, Colin Cook (scribe), Tim Stone.