Saddle Creek spur, Plateau and the new sidle track MF
18 March, 2015
Whatever the merits of the new sidle track in the Waitatapia Valley, it can help reduce the amount of double tracking on day trip loops in the area.
On our trip we took the old track as far as Saddle Creek, ascended the spur on its true right and followed the ridge around above the Plateau, descending to the Waitewaewae Track where it flattens out at the head of Arapito Creek. The most notable feature off-track was the multitude of massive mossy windfall trunks (with no secondary debris) possibly due to the same 1936 storm that for many years made Oriwa Ridge, only a few kilometres to the north and running in much the same direction, almost impassable due to windfall. (Merv Rogers, Tararua Footprints p. 129.)
Also noteworthy was the difficulty of riding the Plateau Stream/Arapito Creek watershed ridge all the way down to the Plateau. From a bump at 700 m a beautifully sharp ridge soon loses definition; Arapito Creek extends tendrils southish into the Plateau and we fell off our desired route. But perhaps it was a fortunate blunder, the Plateau being so featureless and such a tangled mess of vegetation that to skirt around its edges was maybe the better option.
As for the sidle track, this reporter along with many other club members helped survey the route, but lost interest when it seemed unlikely the track would ever be built. A gpx file had been maintained but it was no more than a rough guide with many route refinements needed. Unfortunately it became the exact line for the new track.
- Party members
- Joan Basher, Robin Chesterfield, Colin Cook (leader and scribe)), Mike Lear, David Ogilvie, Wayne Perkins, Bob Stephens. Lynne White, Warwick Wright