Saturday Adventures – avoiding the weather bombs
South Saddle and Mt Matthews, Saturday 23 July 2022
This trip was scheduled for June but high river levels scuppered this idea. We postponed the trip to July and worriedly watched weather forecasts and river levels the week prior. On Thursday it rained hard; on Friday it finally stopped raining. It was going to be touch and go.
An early start over the Five Mile brought us to the Ōrongorongo River, flowing at 5.8 cumecs - only just doable. Hurried river crossing instruction followed and we formed two crossing groups. With cautious steps, sharp angling downstream and a surge of adrenaline we made our crossings without incident. Great river experience for our newer trampers.
To cater for a range of fitness levels, this trip had two options. Both travelled up Goat Stream spur. One group had lunch on South Saddle and returned to the valley via the Mount Matthews Track. The second group kept going from South Saddle and made it to the summit of Matthews for lunch.
The route up Goat Stream Spur is well marked and seemingly often followed. South Saddle provided a view-filled break spot but by the time the summit group got to the high point, clouds had rolled over. The summit group raced down to catch up with the others, who were delighted with the day they’d had. We made it back to the cars over an hour before the 6 p.m. gate closing time.
- Party members
- Jane Frances, Paul McCredie (leader), Megan Rawiri, Holly Sinclair, Tim Stone, Sarah White (leader and scribe), Alan Whiting, Cathy Wylie.
East Harbour Lakes, Saturday 27 August
Assembling at Burdan’s Gate, southern end of Eastbourne, we biked into a stiff southerly around the coast to Pencarrow lighthouse. Here we locked our bikes and walked along the northern perimeter of Lake Kohangapiripiri before heading up onto a hill high above the Lake. Cloud and drizzle alternated with cheerful weather patches and snatches of view. We followed a long ridge, bashing through gorse down to the intake to Lake Kohangatera, where a foreboding sign read ‘Take Care. Drowning is a Hazard’. Indeed, it did appear that a very deep crossing of Gollans Stream was required, and we were travelling through viscous mud that sucked our boots into its depths. Mark and Paul prospected crossings, forging in chest deep before returning to the same bank. Eventually a shallower site was found and we got wet only to our waists. A difficult swamp bash ensued to reach the track on the southern side of Lake Kohangatera where we had a well-deserved lunch in the sun. From there was some easier up and down out to the coast road and back to our bikes, then a speedy tailwind-assisted cycle back to Burdan's Gate.
- Party members
- Katherine Close, Mark Edwards, Natasha Hulston, Paul McCredie, Jenny Olsen, Frank Usmar, Robin Usmar, Sarah White (leader and scribe).
Skyline Plus, Sunday 4 September
Saturday poured and raged and blew a hurricane, so Alan postponed the trip to Sunday. We tried posting on Meetup for this one and got some interest from people outside the club, but in the end only one joined us through this avenue. Half price public transport was a boon as we circled from Wellington Railway Station, using both train and bus, each leg costing the princely sum of $1.42. The route took us from Johnsonville to Karori Park via the Skyline Walkway. Clear skies provided great views of Wellington harbour, the Ōrongorongos, and the South Island. A strong northwesterly made some stretches tricky to negotiate but the fearless crew made good time, arriving at Karori Park five hours after departing Johnsonville Station.
- Party members
- Colin Hoare, Paul McCredie, Sarah Peters, Holly Sinclair, Sarah White (scribe), Alan Whiting (leader).