A Democratic Walk Around Deep Creek MF
24 February 2021
This trip was designed by Peggy Munn. She was unable to lead it because of an uncooperative Achilles. Seven humans and Ralph the dog assembled at the Walls Whare road-end at 9 a.m. on a fine Wairarapa summer’s day. There was discussion about a proposal to travel off track to Deep Creek on the true left of the river rather than on track on the true right, as per Peggy’s plan. There was little support for that proposal once it was discovered that the person in the party who was thought to have travelled the true left route said that he would need to research the route before embarking on it.
After morning tea at Makaka Creek we crossed the river. The river was easiest to cross opposite Deep Creek, which is downstream from Makaka Creek and is accessed by following the track down to the last terrace before the Makaka Creek bridge, following a footpad east along the top of the terrace and taking a footpad down the terrace wall into the riverbed.
There is a marked (with pink trapping line markers) route up the long dogleg ridge leading up to the summit of Waiohine. It starts heading north east then turns right to head east and finally south east to the summit. The route, originally a trapping line to protect the native bats which once nested in or about Deep Creek, is now overgrown and less distinct in places, although Ralph found it easy to follow and was puzzled by our tendency to get off what was to him a very clear route.
The summit was duly bagged and the party headed off along the ridge that runs due south from Waiohine above the head water of Deep Creek and Rocky Creek on the west side and Kaipaitangata Stream on the east. It was noted that one member of the party was not with us, but the view was that he had, as is wont, gone on ahead to take photographs. (Ralph appears to be a heading dog so could not be relied on to round up strays.) We were beginning to be concerned as we neared the end of the high section of the ridge and we hadn’t been photographed. Then the missing member rushed up from behind us expressing surprise at how long it had taken to catch us up. (A forensic examination of the member’s phone indicates that he was asleep for 25 minutes in the undergrowth near Waiohine and was not woken by our noisy party rejoining the route only 10 or 20 metres away.)
There is a very good viewpoint towards the end of the high section of the ridge.
Peggy’s plan was to sidle off the end point at the southern end of the high section of the ridge and on to a lower spur leading to bump 632, from whence we would have turned north then west to arrive at bump 532 (the high road). However, in the days preceding the trip there had been lobbying for the party to take a more direct route down into Rocky Creek and up the other side, emerging onto the 632 – 532 spur about 500 metres from bump 532 (the low road). Colin Cook was cited as the original proponent of the low road and other members described their navigational difficulties getting onto the lower spur on the high road on an earlier occasion. A consensus developed for the low road, which we took. It proved a reasonable shortcut although descending the lower slopes on the true right of Rocky Creek was not easy travel.
Once on top of the spur the route back to the carpark via bump 532 was relatively clear. At the toe of the spur there was the expected slither down a steep slope into what could have been a manmade cutting running parallel with the river and marked with permalat. Perhaps the beginning of a route up the true left of the river.
The trip took nine hours. After reviewing the trace, one party member suggested that the spur between the two branches of Deep Creek might be a quicker way to Waiohine.
So, there is further exploration to do. A route along the true left of the Waiohine river. The middle spur to Waiohine and the high road over bump 632.
Watch full screen: Relive 'Waiohine via the Bat Track' (by Paul McCredie).
- Party members
- Joan Basher, Tricia French, Gerald Leather (leader and scribe), Paul McCredie, David McNabb, David Ogilvie, Kate Pitney, Ralph (the dog).