A Turere Crossing, .680 to .586 M
14 June 2017
Was it to be another of those Wednesdays leaders dread? A strong southerly and persistent rain? Plan B and handy coffee shops filled my thoughts overnight. ‘And after all,’ to quote Katherine Mansfield, ‘the weather was ideal. They could not have had a more perfect . . .’ Well, almost—there was still a sharp-edged breeze, but the sun shone all day. So an unhurried climb of the Whakanui track, carrying on up the spur (arrowed) where the track sidles left to the saddle, a short cut still not much used, to the McKerrow Track above. Then on towards McKerrow, stopping for tea in a sheltered open patch big enough for all eleven to sit in full sun. The top of .680 isn’t hard to pick, as the track beyond drops away markedly, but for all that it is a while before, after turning left into the scrubby understorey, the sharp spur down to the Turere defines itself. I’d long looked at this spur on the map and wanted to try it. And I thought I remembered it to be a spur Peter Jagger and Michael Bartlett had long ago used. Michael confirmed that they had been down it once, and didn’t recall problems getting off the last bit to the water (the curse of so many Turere spurs), but hadn’t marked it. We found a few disintegrating orange spots—Jagger marks!—which led Michael to comment that Peter had probably gone back on his own some time later. It’s a good spur with no navigational problems, and brings you down to the extended rocky headland that juts into the Turere valley. You can see it on the map. Here, all of us again basking in sheltered sunshine, we stopped for lunch. I went on to the nose of the headland and down far enough to satisfy myself that you could get down to the stream that way. ‘Far enough’ is seldom far enough: we found as we got going again that there was a typical Turere rock wall around the base of the headland. Not high everywhere, but it only needs to be two metres to block descent. So back to the base of the headland, where John and I had noticed a bit of a gully on the up-stream side, which John led us down. Only the last bit was tricky, a jumble of sticks and boulders. The side of the stream is on the move, and might be more difficult in future. The Turere was jumped dry-foot by most, and the climb up the other side, though quite steep, was in stable forest. It wasn’t too long before the Whakanui Track showed up and we were on .586, with a Turere crossing new to all of us completed. It only remained to finish the day in the style we were accustomed to, with a stop for tea just beyond the Turere saddle in full and sheltered sunshine.
- Party members
- Linda Beckett, John Dement, Paddy Gresham, Brian Hasell, Justin Kerr, Howard Larsen, Jenny Mason, Bernard Molloy, Tina Stewart, John Thomson (leader and scribe) and Rosemary Wilson