Hinakitaka – a dog’s view M/F
Saturday 12 March 2022
What are we doing at Ocean Beach? Twyla, a town dog, and I, an inland country dog, would prefer to spend the day chasing seagulls but the humans have got their big boots on, so I expect we are headed for the mountains, currently shrouded in very wet-looking clouds. Oh no, we are heading up the barren, boring shingle wastes of Mukamuka Stream and into a strong northerly too. But no, we have turned right and are headed through the stone gates of the Hinakitaka Stream.
This is fun - boulder hopping and clambering up the small waterfalls of the spectacular Hinakitaka. Much easier on four legs than for the humans tottering about on two legs, although they sensibly use all four limbs when the going gets tough.
They have stopped for a food break – but nothing offered to us dogs. On we go. Twyla barks furiously at goats doing some streamside grazing. At a water stop I ‘eye’ an old billy goat for some time before he shuffles off – most of the humans didn’t see him.
After about two kilometres of rough stream travel, we reach a point where the humans debate where to go next. Ahead the valley runs out – it looks like a huge cathedral with a near-vertical green grass wall (a recovering slip) and a grey cloud roof. The humans point at the green grass wall and shake their heads, as though some have tried to climb up there before.
The humans decide to use a small creek 20 metres below cathedral corner to get out of the Hinakitaka on the true left and to climb 160 metres to a saddle on the ridge that runs from Matthews to Pt.738. I lead Tim up an increasingly steep slope. There is much yelping and cursing as the humans encounter patches of ongaonga and fight their way through leatherwood. We are all now on all fours. The last few metres to the top are steeper than a woolshed wall and the humans are thankful to be able to lever themselves up on the Leatherwood and other flora clinging to the slopes. We emerge onto the top into mist and a brisk, cold northerly. No views, except of the slip which plunges near vertically 250 metres into Corner Creek.
The humans totter along the razorback a short distance before dropping into the bush on the windward side to stop for more food. Only some plain dog biscuits for me. I notice that Twyla has had an easy uphill inside Hera’s pack.
Climbing back onto the razorback we find that the mist has cleared, and the wind dropped away. Great views of the mountains to the north and the Wairarapa. I follow Tim over a particularly exposed bit of the razorback while the rest, including Twyla in the bag, take an undignified sidle below the high point. The razorback ends, and we are into substantial forest on near-flat land where the humans feel more comfortable.
There are another 200 metres of steep climbing to the marked track. The humans try to follow me as I follow clearly discernible animal tracks which they seem unable to see. They get off track from time to time as they are not supple enough to get under the branches and windfall. A short walk up the track brings us to the top of Matthews (941 m) where it is warm, sunny, and still. The humans are euphoric about the weather and eat again - nothing for me except sweets accidentally dropped on the ground.
We head down the very steep track towards North Saddle to the first saddle and then down through the bush and the shingle ‘drainpipe’ into the top of Corner Creek. Corner Creek has been roughed up by the heavy rain earlier in the year. It is almost continuous boulder hopping punctuated by the occasional scramble around more significant water features.
Back at the Corner Creek Campsite I clamber into the back of David’s car and hide among the packs in the hope that I might get a trip to Lower Hutt. But no, I am fished out and we head back to the farm in Kate’s truck. The humans seem very pleased with their day.
- Party members
- Ralph (scribe), Twyla. Hera Cook, Gerald Leather, David McNabb, Kate Pitney, Martin Workman, Tim Workman