Square Knob from the Waiti
10 September 2008
It’s rare for a regular Wednesday group to be taken on a trip not one step of which they have ever done before. Wayne Griffen offered us this novelty on a visit to Square Knob. Cars were left up the Gladstone Rd at the Waiti bridge, the starting point in earlier decades for trips into the Mangahao by a route long overgrown (but now coming back into use). An access 4WD on the TR took us to the spur between the lower forks, less than a kilometre from the road. First grass, then scrub well trodden by cattle, and we were on to the long approach to Square Knob along a reasonably clear route through the young regenerated tawa and kamahi bush typical of the area. Towards the end, the gradient increased sharply and we were on top for an early lunch. The view took in the whole of the North Ohau catchment and extended over Deception Spur and the Dora track into the upper Otaki; the higher tops were swathed in mist. A few mournful grey warblers and a parakeet were the only birds we heard in the bush.
The return was round the watershed edge of the TL branch of the Waiti by a track little used but well cut and unmissable. At the bush edge a stile leads into a pine plantation. We followed along the edge of this back to the forks. Many of the mature pines had been uprooted or snapped off in the recent south-easterly storm, and progress was sometimes scratchy. But we were back at the cars not much more than six hours after leaving.
Thanks to Wayne for his initiative and preparatory groundwork.