Graces Stream Clay Ridge Track
Wednesday 30 January
The forecast was stinking hot and I was down to lead a trip. Somewhere in the shade was needed, and Graces Stream with its swishy-cool nikau vegetation appealed.
Eleven of us finally set off from Catchpool around 8.30, after some shuffling of numbers earlier in the morning. As usual the lower section of the Clay Ridge Track was quietly beautiful to wander through up to the 5-mile turn-off, where we pushed our way down towards the stream. The true left banks of Graces are deceptively high and quite a jungle in places. An entry point was finally located, still, care was needed on the steep descent, with little to cling on to.
The plan for the day was about three hours in the stream up to the 4th side stream on the true left, locate an old orange triple-tin marker, then up the spur travelled in 2017. The stream was low but slippery and so was not easy going in places, with more windfalls and some sections deeper than previously. However we exceeded our expectations in reaching the marker at a minute to noon. It is a truly exotic waterway and it was strange to recall that Wellington is so close.
A different spur with an inviting footpad beckoned just beyond our 3rd stream, so we decided to head up rather than go back in to the water for another ten minutes. The map showed both spurs meeting the track in close proximity and it was fun to investigate some new territory. Our new route was of course just as steep, with a nearvertical knoll just when we thought we were at the track. Aaargh.
Through most of the day we managed to stay cool, not only in the stream, but up the spur. The heat did not hit until we were well down the Clay Ridge Track, which of course goes on forever at the end of the day, with several unkind climb-ups. It was indeed stinking hot by the time we reached the car park, hanging out for a cold drink and the car AC blower.
- Party members
- Linda Beckett, Bob Buckle, Peggy Munn, Marg Pearce (leader and scribe), Dave Reynolds, Peter Smith, Trish Gardiner-Smith, Bob Stephens,Suzanne Sutton-Cummings, Bill Wheeler, Glynn Woodbury