Graces Stream – Clay Ridge Track M
January 17, 2017
The weather warning was dire, but for later in the day, and 15 members were willing to take a chance. Some of our group included MF trampers who had decided not to go all the way to Ohau to get blown or washed off the planet and so we had a good-sized group for a day that was going to start with a question mark.
We gathered at Catchpool for a 9 a.m. start and headed off along the Clay Ridge Track, then down to Graces Stream from the main signpost. It looked like a jungle but it was fairly quick to get to the stream edge. From there we had a somewhat dicey descent to actually get in to the stream bed as there were loose rocks, so we went singly for safety.
Graces Stream was very slippery indeed. That was the only drawback of this trip. The stream was utterly gorgeous with numerous nikau palms and a sense of paradise that goes with off-track routes and streams. There are no big boulders to climb and there were no deep pools at this time, although there were a number of log pile-ups from torrents at various times, however none of these were really difficult to get over.
The plan was to climb up the spur beyond the fourth side stream on the true left. It took ages to get to the first one and I did wonder if we would not have to pull out and go up an earlier spur. However, we did get to the third side stream by a late-ish lunch; this was interesting as there was an old collection of orange tin markers at this point, quite probably left by Peter Jagger.
It was only a short distance, indeed minutes, to the next side stream, and from there we had a fairly easy passage up the 500m climb to the Clay Ridge Track, with thicker vegetation only in the final 30 minutes. The wind was blowing harder at this stage, but not enough for concern.
It was nice to get back on a track and go downhill for a while. We were back at the cars after a bit of a competition at the final signposts, dividing into three teams to get back to the car park first. We had been tramping for 7¾ hours and were only hit by rain as we arrived at the cars.
- Party members
- (leader and scribe).Joan Basher, Linda Beckett, John Dement, Tricia French, Jim Gibbons, Brian Hasell, John Hill, Dors Launder, Chris Leather, Gerald Leather, David McNabb, Jan Nye, David Ogilvie, Marg Pearce (leader and scribe), Bob Stephens