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13 May 2007

Crusher Pipe Track

This track, approximately 800 m in length, joins Smith's Rd to Huia Dam Rd as the third arm of a roughly equilateral triangle at the north end of the Lower Huia Reservoir.

The 1:500000 topo series shows the Telephone Track leading from the junction of Hamilton and Summit Tracks almost due west to join Huia Dam Rd just south of Christie's Track. This is the route I had planned to take. However, the Telephone Track has been left to revert to bush, and from the junction of Hamilton and Summit an extended Hamilton Track curves round to the south to join Crusher Pipe Track about 50 metres from Smiths Rd.

I took the extended Hamilton Track believing I was on a Telephone Track that had simply been renamed. Consequently, when I emerged onto Crusher Pipe Track, not Huia Dam Rd, I was considerably disoriented.

Moral: Do get a copy of the ARC Waitakeres map and keep it with you. It's not 100% but it's a lot more recent than the topo sheet information.

I stopped for lunch then headed north to explore. The Crusher Pipe Track is for most of it's distance an immaculate mown grass road with a couple of wheel tracks down the middle, about 5-6 metres across all up. Luxuriant banks of kiokio, palm leaf fern, as well as most of the usual suspects make it a pleasant walk, especially when you know where are.

It looked as if it should go somewhere. It did — more and more downhill.

I'd been walking over three hours, my car was back up on the Piha Rd and every metre I descended I was going to have to regain when I was tired. Eventually I arrived at an unsignposted fork, with the "obvious" track heading off to the left. About 50 metres downhill the track ended in an overgrown and narrow pedestrian track that looked as if it had had no recent use at all. As I had passed a couple of walkers, I expected to at least see their footprints.

Becoming a touch alarmed, I headed back and down the right fork which petered out into a pedestrian track not much wider than the other fork after about the same distance.

This one, however sported footprints, so I persevered, and shortly after arrived at the edge of the Huia Stream at a point where a massive pipe emerged from the ground and plunged steeply down the side of the bank to the stream below.

Alongside of it was a steep flight of steps with risers around 300-400 mm.

At the bottom was a concrete bridge about 2.5 m across, on one side of which was a rail and on the other side the massive pipe.

As streams go, it went.

I crossed the bridge to the other side where I discovered what looked like Coprosma lucida or C. robusta, but covered in male flowers in May??? I'm pretty certain it wasn't C. grandifolia. I know the leaves of that perfectly well. But, C. grandifolia is the only atumn/winter flowering Coprosma that I know.

A steepish scrambly path led uphill for several metres,

emerging suddenly into immaculately mown grassy road, as it was in the beginning of the track, is now and ever more shall be, amen. About 100 m up a gentle slope was a T junction with Huia Dam Road. The real Huia Dam Rd, not the imaginary one I had just been walking along.

Well, at least I knew now that I wasn't lost. It might take me a while but if I kept on along this road I would eventually reach the Piha Rd about 2.5 km from my van. With luck I'd get there before dark. A few hundred metres up the road what looked like an overgrown track headed off to the right - more a gap in the bush at shoulder height than a track.

Hmmm. Would that have been Telephone Track? About 50 metres further on Christie's Track headed back towards the car, so that's probably correct.





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