Two trips in the Waiotauru catchment
Wednesday 21 September
After a spell of rather wet and wild weather, it was good to get a fine Wednesday and with the Kapiti area having the best of the local weather, the trip was an ideal location. Early in the week a slip had again closed the access road to Otaki Forks. This time the slip was located just past the Roaring Meg Stream but was cleared quickly by the local council. Starting from the car park at the start of the Waiotauru Track, the chosen route was up the Waiotauru Track to a spur located just past an old slip which is marked on the topo map. Prior to starting the climb we had morning tea on a ledge in the sun overlooking the Waiotauru River and adjacent river terraces. The spur, which was quite dry underfoot, is good travel and has some markers and a reasonable foot pad. The spur is south west for a start until about 440 metres, when after finding a tree with three red paint dots, the route travels due north for about 100 metres before swinging north west and staying on this bearing until past bump 692. About 200 metres past bump 692 the route swings a bit north of east and continues on this bearing until reaching the Pukeatua Track. From this point the Pukeatua and later the Fence Line tracks return us to the car park. We were able to have lunch at ‘Shoe Flat‘ (just beyond Bump 692) in dappled sunlight.
SF (slow fit):
For those wondering what SF means: roughly speaking, it is at medium pace but longer – ideal for old MF and F trampers who now need a rest going up big hills.
This was meant to be a Jumbo-Holdsworth trip, but with the tops predicted to be in cloud and a max temp of -6°C, we decided to go to the sunny side of the Tararuas.
We left Otaki Forks at 9 am. Walking up the Waiotauru River track, we noticed many of the side streams were quite high following an extremely wet weekend that had briefly closed the Gorge road, again. We reached the Waiotauru Forks bridge (about 200 m asl) a bit after 11 am, then scrambled steeply for about an hour in a westerly direction up the spur to #472.
From here the ridge heads mainly north before swinging NW to #692. The first part of the ridge is wide and fairly flat. Initially the route is on an old overgrown forestry road, not always easy to follow. A bit before where the ridge turns NW is a prominent spur coming up from the Waiotauru River just upstream of an old slip. This is marked with Peter Jagger’s orange paint marks. Where this side spur meets the ridge are 3 blobs of orange paint which are not visible when travelling in our direction, but are obvious when retracing one’s path back to the ridge.
From here we climbed up through pleasant bush until reaching the Te Araroa/Pukeatua track a bit east of #710, arriving about 3 pm. Very new footprints had told us the medium party was in front. Then followed a pleasant 1 h 45 min downhill walk to the car park.
- Party members
- MEDIUM: Ken Fraser, John Hill, Carol Kelly, Doreen Launder, Jan Nye, Penny Salmond, Bill Stephenson, Dave Reynolds (leader and scribe).
SLOW FIT: Joan Basher, Linda Beckett, David McNabb, Peggy Munn, David Ogilvie (leader and scribe), Wayne Perkins, Bob Stephens, Bill Wheeler, Warwick Wright