The New Bridge to New Territory
May 13 2006
Map S26 Carterton
This was to be a day of confirmation and exploration. The previous weekend Dave and I had gone in to the Tauherenikau valley for a camping weekend from the Walls Whare road end. As we left the car park we read a DoC “Important Notice” sign, informing backcountry users that a new bridge had been installed across the Tauherenikau River, 100 metres upstream from Marchant Stream.
This ‘search and confirm’ morning was grey, benign weather as we left the car park at the end of Marchant Road. The familiar track seemed to speed by under our boots and it seemed that no time had passed before we reached the Marchant Stream. It was up from rain in previous days but clear. We used the wire to step on rocks in an effort to keep the boots dry.
Half way up the fi rst rise past the stream crossing we sighted the support structures of the new bridge – but there was no cleared access. Not an issue!
DoC is to be commended for the positioning and strength of this new bridge. It undoubtedly will serve the tramping community well for many years. After the obligatory ‘fi rst photos’, we descended to a shingle bar just upstream and sat in warming sun for a nibble and drink.
On the true left of the river, upstream of the new bridge DoC has established an initial route, marked by pink nylon ties. Any person with basic bush navigation skills and ‘bush sense’ can follow the route. Less than 500 metres upstream from the bridge is the only current obstacle to travel. There is a very steep ‘up and down’ that will require benching if the track is to become a frontline track. We investigated this obstacle and concluded that as long as the river fl ow was normal, people could easily skirt below this cliff.
Once across the side stream adjacent to spot height 212 on the S26 map (immediately upstream of the challenging cliff), the route has been roughly cleared of vegetation and is easily followed all the way to Rodgers Stream, where it descends to a prolonged river-side open terrace. We had lunch here and returned downstream; once again following the new route and easily skirted below the cliff, despite the river being slightly up. The previous week Dave and I had explored the new route from the upstream end. From the old bridge site to Rodgers Stream the route is only pink ties – it has not been cleared in any way.
We were back at the car park just as the sun set. It had been a pleasant day in a familiar valley, yet we had seen the valley from an entirely new perspective.
- Party members were
- Bill Allcock (scribe), Colin Cook, Dave Reynolds, and Tim Stone