13 May 2007
This track was the second to last leg of a biggish loop, from Nihotupu Carpark to the dam, along Summit Track, Hamilton Track, Crusher Pipeline Track, Huia Dam Rd, Christie Track, to the dam and back up to the carpark. Alice and I did this one by ourselves as Miranda was obliged to remain in cellphone range.
It was supposed to be a shorter day as my planned route from the topo sheet took me via the now-closed Telephone Track (see black route between Hamilton Track and Huia Dam Rd) and I wound up walking an extra several kilometres. Fortunately, my safety margins were sufficient to get me back to the car just before dusk. It does pay to consult the ARC map as well.
This route was a fairly arduous one for the elderly and stout, as much for the muddy and boggy underfoot conditions and long-fallen trees across the track as for its steepness.
I managed it. You can manage it if you're in good shape. I was not long off my South Island trip and probably fitter than normal (for me). It was a 7 hour day and this track came near the end. You will note the report consists mainly of track shots with not much of that keen, alert, eye for detail that characterises the first couple of hours of walking.
Fatman time for this track is 2hr 20.
We start off gently downhill towards the stream. The relatively tough stuff doesn't begin until past half-way.
It's narrowish and quite dense bush on either side of the track, lots of fern and kanuka, with a few biggies on the way up.
Over a small tributary and just ahead is the main crossing
It's a lovely stream, and a set of stepping stones takes us across with relatively dry boots - more than we can say for the swamps that wait for us further on.
I take a look up stream a little
Up we go.
Still fairly easy.
There are several large patches of filmy fern along the way. The name, hymenophyllum, really says it all. The skeleton of a mahoe leaf sits off to the left.
For a short period we have the stream to our right
before crossing to the left side of the ridge that we shall follow pretty much all the way up. Alice keeps a watchful eye on me, and vice versa.
It's fairly wet all around
with an occasional bigger step that brings my knee uncomfortably close to my chest.
and at times it can get a bit more in your face. Not difficult, but forget to pay attention at your peril - a root or a rock is there to grab you in seconds.