Upper Mukamukaiti MF
17th January 2018
Mukamukaiti Stream is not an easy place to reach on a day trip. We went from the Catchpool over the Butcher Track, down the unofficial Jagger Track to the Orongorongo River then up Wootton Stream spur.
On hitting the range top we followed pink Moa Trust markers (as we had all the way up the spur) a few hundred metres south west before turning down a spur terminating in the Mukamukaiti just above its upper waterfall, the object of our trip. The spur gave good travel with its lower reaches grassed and open (if mildly exposed in some places). Higher up in a bushed section we noted three sawn-off stumps of small trees and speculated this was done to give hunters an unobstructed view of the steep grassed slopes to the south. At some point too we mistakenly veered south off our spur but an easy sidle soon put us back on the crest.
The waterfall was impressive although we saw it only from above; a seemingly vast drop to the river way below.
Lunching, our thoughts turned to extrication. To retrace our steps was the simplest but least preferred option. From the map it had seemed that the spur on the streamís true left running all the way to Tapokopoko might provide an exit. But on our way down we had noted that it carried an unnecessary saddle filled with scrub of indiscernible density and size; viewed from the stream bed at the waterfall it was in any case far too sheer even to contemplate. During our descent we had also noted the upper reaches of the stream didnít look particularly hospitable, so we opted to travel upstream only a short distance then follow up a true-right side stream where we hoped to reach bushy slopes beside a slip, again as glimpsed on our descent. Very quickly we were presented with a waterfall to negotiate, then a second, more challenging, then a third: impossible. So we had to scramble up steep slopes through flax and tussock and brittle scrub to the spur ridge-line and so finally back to the main ridge. From here it was pink markers to Tapokopoko and then down Paua Ridge. (But, be warned, the markers don't take you to Paua Hut. The bifurcation is apparently marked but the leader missed it!).
- Party members
- Bill Allcock, Tony Black, Colin Cook (leader, scribe and photos), Tricia French