Otaki Forks - Rae Ridge – Dennan - Fields Track MF
8 March, 2017
I spent the day before checking the weather forecast and water flow in the Otaki River (the nearest I could find to Waiotauru on the Greater Wellington website) as we endured another day of summer in Wellington, but by Wednesday the sky had cleared and the water flow had dramatically fallen back to normal.
We left the car at the Otaki Forks carpark and walked towards the road end before branching off to follow the Fenceline Track for a few minutes and then cutting across the meadow down to the Waiotauru River, which was only knee high – on the tall people at least. It was then easy to cross the grassy river flats beyond Sheridan Creek before plunging into an opening in the scrubby bush that quickly led us to a well formed track. We enjoyed this track for some time and were lulled into a false sense of security as later in the day the track faded away and, in case we felt short of exercise, there were numerous diversions over, under and around tree fall. David did his best to keep us on the straight and narrow and saved the day at critical moments with his GPS. Previous trip reports quoted five hours to go up Rae Ridge and I found this comforting as we ploughed our way up, feeling rather slow, but in the end ‘on time’. Clearly the pigs in this area are very fit and find the track easy going as there were quite a few wallows on the way.
We finally emerged from the bush with Dennan in sight at 1214m and only a couple of hundred metres to go through leatherwood and fierce winds - just a minor challenge! We paused for at least ten seconds on the summit to take in the fantastic views, clutching at the tussock to prevent ourselves being blown away. An obvious route led us down a spur to Fields Track and from then on it was plain sailing back to Otaki Forks, pausing only for one more rest at Field Hut. Total trip time was 9 hours 20 minutes, total distance just over 20km. Given the rain that has fallen since then, I hope that the road to Otaki Forks is still open.
- Party members
- Joan Basher, Tricia French, David McNabb, Wayne Perkins and Lynne White (leader and scribe)