Blackwater Stream, Waiopehu F
Wednesday 26 October 2022
Defying the forecast for light drizzle all day, we made a 6.40 departure from Wellington and an 8.20 start from Poads Road end. The DoC noticeboard at the car park said there were slips on the Ōhau Gorge Track, so we decided to investigate. After a brief crossing of a small section of farmland, we started along the Ōhau Gorge Track. We crossed two slips, both very navigable, the second one being so often traversed that it has nice little steps cut into it. No need to take the high route diversions.
There is a flat picnic area just over the bridge at Blackwater Junction and the team found a very easy route down to Blackwater Stream, far preferable to the alternative vertical scramble. We had an early morning tea prior to getting our feet (and other parts) wet.
Given the fairly low water level, Blackwater Stream was a lovely stream to follow, with plenty of variety: some scrambling over rocks, numerous crossings which needed a little thought but nothing to worry about, gorge-y sections with some tree-fall and flat, open areas. One of the side streams on the true right had a superb waterfall.
At 12.30 we found a pleasant area of dry boulders where we had lunch along with some discussion about which spur to take up to the Waiopehu Track. Taking into account the (incorrect) weather forecast and estimated timings to climb approximately 300 m and return along the track, we decided to aim for .712.
We quickly came to the side stream marking the route up and started climbing close to it to avoid a nasty little steep section. Once past this, we aimed to follow the crown of the spur, with some compromise made necessary by the dreaded supplejack and consequent body-weaving exercises. Fortunately, we were impeded for only a short while before the route became clearer, though still requiring some climbing over, under and around windfall.
We reached .712 sooner than expected and had a quick drink before setting off down the Waiopehu Track. The Levin Tramping Club has done an excellent job of installing boardwalk over previously muddy sections. Consequently, we had a very pleasant walk, except for tired knees, back down to the farmland which seemed a little more extensive at this time of day. A nine-hour day with lots of variety – and no rain.
- Party members
- Bill Allcock, Tricia French, Sieny Pollard, Janette Roberts and Lynne White (leader and scribe).