South Saddle from different angles
2019 18th October & 2nd November
The tramping itch was insistent so despite a horrid forecast we kept to our Friday plan. It was a late start Ö. recalcitrant children to get to school, a mercy mission to help a break down on the Wainui Hill Road, miscommunication on where to meet. Maybe they were all signs and we should have gone home and played cards.
Dropping a car at the Catchpool, we headed down to the Coast. The first 12 km around the coast, was gorgeous, as always. The drizzle and rain continued all day, but the sea was still a patchwork of greens, blues and greys. Jogging and walking we reached the Mukamuka in an hour forty.
Hooning up the grey MukaMuka, we followed the stream as it meandered up to South Saddle. Suddenly weíre there and being blasted - canít walk, canít talk. We should have had the discussion before the saddle but we didnít. Jonathan wanted to go down Goat Stream Spur the rest of us didnít, but hadnít made that explicit.
We were soaked and cold and nobody felt like stopping. Jonathan turned left and the others followed. I couldnít battle the wind in that direction or attract their attention, so I headed down the Matthews Stream track thinking Iíd meet up with them in the river valley. Turns out they were more community spirited than that and came back to look for me, and couldnít decide where Iíd gone.
A couple of hours later after two cups of tea with some hipster creatives in Turere Lodge (for me) and a lot of worry (for the others) we reunited on the Catchpool Track. Good job Iím not a bush craft leader. Note to
an official Club trip that Iím leading...
Hmmm Ė Iím not very popular with the TTC crowd Ė only Franz signs up, and this time the forecast is great. I recruit a few non-TTC randoms who are keen to give Jenny Masonís shingle slip a go. The Goat Stream Spur route is turning into a welltrodden track, with the Good Nature trap markers added to the myriad of different track markers used over the years. We were pleased to see two dead rats at the base of one trap, having not seen evidence of kills previously.
The point at which you leave the spur to sidle to South Saddle is now clearly signposted (on permolat), and itís a straightforward ten minutes from there. We chatted to a goat hunter returning after exhausting his ammunition. Heíd felled a lot of goats that morning, and was despairing about how many there are in the area.
Morning tea on the windless saddle and lunch on Matthews summit in equally balmy conditions. In between the mossy, stunted beech forest. Five descended by the second of the two big shingle slips from the top. The way to it is marked by the SHGL SLD sign and the moss-monster guarding it. Ten minutes down a steep but well-marked track is a 20m rope to get onto the slide, then 250m of fast descent into the upper reaches of Matthews Stream. The rope seems to be a $10 Mitre10 special, probably with no UV protection.
John and I had a more measured egress via the Matthews Stream track and we reunited at the confluence of Matthews Stream and the Ōrongorongo.
Disclaimer. Publication of this article in no way condones trail running - Ed
- Party members
- Bjorn Johns, Jonathan Ravens, Richard Sykes, Sarah White (MukaMuka)(scribe).
John Gregson, Franz Hubmann, Graham Morley, Sarah Pettus, Jonathan Ravens, Jocelyn Turnbull, Sarah White (scribe) (Goat Stream Spur and down the shingle slip)