Battle Hill – Whakatikei River west branch
M/F trip 10 June 2006
The route to the headwater forks of the west branch of the Whakatikei River has been previously described in the Tramper. This is an update with a description of the true left headwater stream and spurs. The route from Battle Hill onto the broad ridge has been much improved since a digger has been through the old roads around bump 493 (R28 755155) and cleared the gorse which was threatening to totally obstruct the route. We speculated that this work has been done to improve access to prospective wind turbine sites.
On the other hand, the old logging road which heads northwards towards the forks from halfway between bumps 506 and 561, and is the key to the whole route, is getting strangled with gorse and toitoi at the top end, and is in need of a trim. The route off this logging road down to the forks from the top of the small bump at 770171 is an animal trail following the line of another old logging track through a punga forest. At one point the line of the trail is blocked by a big log and trails go either side of the log. On the earlier trip we must have taken the right hand branch but this time we took the left hand branch. This is a mistake as it put us onto a spur which ends in a bluff a little way up the true right branch and we were forced to sidle across to the correct spur down to the forks.
The true left branch provides very easy and pleasant travel up to the fi rst tributary where we climbed out up the leading spur heading due north directly towards Wainui peak. The easy stream travel appeared to continue beyond our climb out point. Our spur was good going with considerable sign of goats and pigs.
We lunched on the fl at gable end of the ridge at 764186 before dropping back down the spur heading due west. Again this was good going, although we had to do a short sidle at the bottom to find a route down to the stream. The stream bed looked to be easy going but the whole valley shows signs of having recently experienced a fl ash flood which has scoured the banks to a height of about 2m making it quite tricky to get out of the stream bed and onto the generally easy slopes above. We reached the stream at the confluence of the side stream on the true right at 759184 and climbed up the spur to the south towards the old farmland to the west. This spur was open bush with thick fern at the bottom but a strong animal trail developed when the bush thickened higher up. We were soon in the open farmland.
There was no sign of the forecast gale force winds and we were pleasantly surprised to find that there was still a bit of warmth in the sun as we made our way back to Battle Hill to complete what was just over an eight hour day.
- Sieny Pollard, Robin Chesterfield, Bernard Molloy, Neil Challands (leader & scribe)