Wootton Stream Roundabout MF
This trip was advertised as a Wootton Stream circumnavigation but a glance at our route shows it wasn't quite that. We began at the Catchpool, passing along the Orongorongo Track then up and over to the river via Browns Track. Doubts were expressed as to whether this constituted a shortcut - definitely shorter in distance but probably no saving in time and certainly no saving in exertion. Across the river we took the road to Nettle Stream and mounted its western watershed spur from the west side of the hairpin bend on its southern approach. A brief steep climb to the spur crest and then the familiar pattern of TL Orongorongo River Spurs commenced. Open dry beech forest littered with dry fallen branches, then a steep climb through a patchwork of scrub, rangiora, kiekie, lawyer, supplejack and old slip face to reach, at about 600 m elevation, a level section - in this case broader and more extensive than most and with some quite large open areas, patches of bare dirt and grass. Then a final steep push before the spur flattens off perhaps 100m below the ridge line and a drawn out trudge though heavy forest, wet and muddy underfoot ensues. In all of this we were greatly assisted by the trap line recently established by the Moa Trust and indeed we were following pink markers from about the 200m contour on. (In many ways something to be regretted since navigation is a major and most enjoyable part of tramping.) However it has to be conceded that without the markers what was a nine-hour trip could have taken a couple of hours more.
Descending south from Tapokopoko along the main ridge we were initially in wet, mossy almost goblin forest. A broad ridge, and we would have been much more tentative without the markers. Then, finally, we were out into the heavily grassed area of open tops north of The Peak, whose massif loomed majestically above us with seemingly vertical slopes falling away into the Mukamukaiti. The pink ties persisted and we picked our way through great clumps of grass hiding the occasional fallen log. Marvellous views to the west. Our descent spur came into view, well marked with pink triangles and even a small amount of welcome cutting at the very top which was overrun with lawyer and scrub.
Then the spur pattern resumed, in opposite order until the trap line dribbled us out into Wootton Stream a short distance above the road. We had afternoon tea then crossed the River to climb up the old (Jagger?) track to Cattle Ridge - again, maybe a shortcut, maybe not - and so to the road end.
- Party members
- Joan Basher, Colin Cook (leader and scribe), Paul McCredie, Peggy Munn, Bob Stephens, Lynne White, Warwick Wright