Friday 24 September 2021
This was a trip that took advantage of a great weather forecast. Single-layer clothing was all that was needed. It was also a trip of repeatedly finding that reality differed from the planned route. The first faux pas was looking at the toe of a spur beside the Ōrongorongo track and mistaking it for the one right beside it. Both had traps and ribbons placed in similar positions. Up we went to find the expected clear spur densely covered. Having checked the GPS, sure enough it was an unplanned spur but, no matter, it would get us to where we wanted to be - in fact it would get us closer to where we wanted to be. Yay! Once down the other side of Cattle Ridge we
proceeded down the river to locate the spur between Peak and Wootton streams. We walked up Wootton stream to the road then cut inland and turned up the toe of the spur.
After about 10 minutes of ascent we discovered a 19-metre ravine on our left and on checking the GPS discovered the ravine, unmarked on the map, was between us and the main spur. Collectively we decided ‘well it’s good here - open beech forest so let's keep on going - after all it joins the main spur at about 500 metres’. Easy progress up for another 250 metres when we hit a belt of kiekie and supplejack which required being on hands and knees and following through the holes the pigs had pushed through low to the ground. Above that belt we reached a section close to where the contour lines almost touched, but fortunately there were convenient roots or trees for handholds. Once we joined the main spur (a trap line) we made good progress, taking care to avoid the stinging nettle and lawyer, not always successfully unfortunately.
Lunch at the top was enjoyed with fabulous views of the Wairarapa coast and Wellington, Cook Strait and the snowclad Kaikouras. Wending our way to Tapokopoko, we collectively decided that on arrival this time we would definitely follow the trap line down Nettle Stream spur. Down we plunged. Suddenly we lost the trap markers and then scouting around found them again. Good spotting team! Down we went again. Then we looked at the GPS. Sure enough we were following a trap line but not the one we had planned. A trifecta of unplanned spurs. The trip had been aptly called ‘spur exploration’ on the trip card. It was hugely satisfying, the company enjoyable and the weather fabulous. The attached photo shows the planned route in red and the purple trace of the actual route.
Approximately 19 kms, about a 1,400-metre climb. 10 hours.
- Party members
- John Dement, Tricia French (scribe), Jenny Mason, David McNabb, Janette Roberts, Sieny Pollard, Mike Wespel-Rose, Lynne White.