Sheridan Creek – Lower Judd Ridge M/F
Otaki Gorge Road has been closed for several years following two significant slips at Blue Bluff. There has not been a club trip starting from Otaki Forks during this period. It was time to refamiliarise with that main entrance to the western Tararuas.
We welcomed Megan and Bryan to the Wednesday MF group. They were participants in Bushcraft 2022, and their experiences make them perfect company for adventurous club outings.
From the locked gate on the road, it took us just under an hour to the start of the Waitauru Track. About fifteen minutes along that track, we made use of an established rope to assist us into the gut of an incised water course flowing down the significant slip. We left the Waiotauru Track and crossed the river just upstream of the confluence with Sheridan Creek.
After crossing the terrace at the toe of Rae Ridge we crossed Sheridan Creek and had morning tea just where the track enters the bush. We were in quiet, in-and-out sun conditions – this was the day of a dire weather forecast caused by the remnant of tropical cyclone Fili. We were most fortunate to have benign, warm weather all day.
The track up Sheridan Creek to the historic log hauler is a disgrace to DoC’s good name. It is more like a route-finding exercise at times, as it crosses and crosses the watercourse, with trampers all the while expected to sight the sparsely placed track markers.
A brief familiarisation with the log hauler and we continued upstream about an hour to the base of the spur just past the third identified watercourse, on the TR of the creek. Lunch was taken in continuing comfortable conditions.
After lunch, we headed up the spur, firstly in an easterly direction, and then the spur curls towards the north as it tops out at point 591 on Field Track. Then it was down the familiar footpad to near point 455. At that point, for the final off-track travel of the day, we headed down the spur that goes northwest to meet the Arcus Loop. About three-quarters of the way down, the front members of the party disturbed a wasps’ nest, with the consequence that the last three members of the party – Bryan, Megan and Bill – experienced discomfort for several days.
The walk along the Arcus Loop lower track showed the impact of the Otaki Road closure – significant overgrowth due to a complete lack of maintenance and use. It was an easy plod back to the cars, along the road and over the rough track across the latest slip. An enjoyable eight-hour adventure.
- Party members
- Bill Allcock (leader and scribe), Robin Chesterfield, John Dement, Tricia French, Jenny Mason, David McNabb, Bryan Rawiri, Megan Rawiri, Lynne White.