Orongorongo River mouth, The Peak via Bump 360, Kotumu, and back.
18th April 2017
Maybe we should call it Twin Peaks: more appropriate than the rather presumptuous name of The Peak, when Mt Matthews along the Orongorongo ridge is higher.
Eight hardy souls set off at 8.00am, on what was meant to be the best day for weather for the week. A quick tramp along the 4-wheel drive track by the river to the gate to the park. Just after crossing a stream, we went up to Bump 360 for morning tea. Steepish climb to begin with, through open beech and kamahi. Mixed podocarp/beech forest going up to The Peak made for pleasant travelling, especially when the track came back to meet us. Some strange markers along the way about 6 pieces of a fluro vest appeared from nowhere to mark the route for long enough to fool us into a false sense of security, and then left us with equal haste. Then a single Jagger marker, in the middle of a piece of inconsequential bush. Others had been here before. Getting near to the main ridge, the ground flattens out, and with the day clagging in, there were few markers to give us a clear direction. Especially when we hit above head-high dense horopito and other nasties, all very wet, requiring us to just push through without vision, and hope that there was something solid underfoot.
Getting to The Peak from the Ridge is a bit of a navigational challenge due in part to a lack of visual sightings, but more the changing direction that was required, having to go north-east, then east, then south-east, all in the vain hope of reaching the summit. Well we did hit the summit for lunch, or did we? David McNabb had a memory of there being another peak beyond where we were, but on a previous occasion we considered that we were on the summit. Email chatter followed, with Peggy declaring that we will just have to go back again, while Joan commented that she would be unwilling to retrace steps until the new ridgeline track appeared. Subsequent aerial photos did indicate two peaks, and the following week, looking across from the Whakanui Track, two distinct peaks were visible (but I am sure ours was higher). On the way back to the main ridge, Colin declared that it would be easier to go back into the bush as the topo map shows, even more detours and backtracking occurred, showing up as the glorious lot of squiggles on the Topo map.
Then on to Kotumu, with more horopito et al., or a danger of falling off into one of the many slips on the ridge if we got too carried away with sidling. South from Kotumu is a huge slip that has taken away virtually all of the upper Kotumu Stream and has caused a very large fan down on the Wairarapa Coast. Onto the long descent on the 4-wheel drive track and down to the cars, by 5.00pm. Nine hours in total: maybe SF rather than MF fill in your own description for the S.
This experience shows that there may not be a really compelling case for the proposed track along the tops, but certainly a statement that some consistent route markings or DoC signs would make life somewhat easier.
- Party members
- (leader and scribe).Joan Basher, Colin Cook, Tricia French, David McNabb, Peggy Munn, Bob Stephens (leader and scribe), Lynne White, Warwick Wright