Exploration of spurs off Pukeatua track from South Mangaone end MF
19 Sept 2018
A superb weather day meant the long sleeved merino tops were soon too warm as we plodded our way up the butchered Pukeatua Track. Logging finished just over a month ago and the track to just under 400 metres is largely a clay logging road. Stumps line the sides of the road and slash is evident on hillsides. Erosion looks like it will be a huge issue when rains arrive.
At .422 we turned left off the track and headed down a spur, unfortunately encountering supplejack and kiekie. Persisting, we got through that and continued down to the stream. After some exploration upstream to a waterfall we decided the best place to ascend to 535 was further downstream. Feeling fortified with morning tea we took on the reasonably steep ascent. .535 is neither interesting nor easy to locate - you are there when you find yourself surrounded by tape of different colours on trees. We then moved south up to join the Pukeatua Track. This section was well marked.
We had lunch in the sun on the Pukeatua Track at about 700 metres - four hours into our adventure.
We then descended to about 600 metres. Robin left the party at this point revealing he had a frozen shoulder which had caused him difficulty on the morning spur descent. The rest of us dropped off to the west down a long steepish spur to the stream arriving just above a waterfall and needing to traverse a small slip with actively moving rocks. We headed downstream around an S bend in the river and then headed back up a gentle cool gully to just over 500 metres back on the Pukeatua Track. This diversion was fun but took a lot longer than a direct descent of the track would have done. We then decided to visit the large rata tree (about two minutes off the track and indicated by orange tape marker). At this point Peggy chose to continue down as she had already viewed it. The remaining four walked partly around the base and were suitably awed. Donning sun huts we returned to the South Mangaone road end in the blazing sun of the exposed steep logging road. All party members were again present at the car park. The trip took 8 hours.
- Party members
- Robin Chesterfield, Colin Cook, Tricia French (leader), David McNabb, Peggy Munn, Marg Pearce