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16, 17 November, 2007; 27,28 February, 2008

Donnelly Flat Loop Track

Mt Holdsworth

Mt Holdsworth Rd runs off the end of Norfolk Rd, which begins a kilometre or so south of Masterton. The campground, at the end of this road, is about 15 km from Masterton.

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The Loop Track is the basic track at Mt Holdsworth. It doesn't matter if you're walking Atiwhakatu, or Gentle Annie, or Holdsworth Lookout, going for an hour or a couple of days or more, each of these comes off the Loop Track part of the way around.

We head up past the lodge, over the footbridge and take the first right to Donnelly Flat

Some of the photos here were taken in November, some at the end of February. In November, the tarata (Pittosporum eugenioides) was just finishing flowering and/or just beginning to show berry. These will turn black as they ripen.

It's all very civilised. Picnic tables are probably the most widespread and least used of all facilities, not least because on the whole they are located with almost no sense of why anyone would stop there for lunch in the first place. It's not just here, it's all over the country. There are very few well placed picnic tables, or well-designed ones for that matter.

We head through towards the lodge alonside the Atiwhakatu River.

In general, picnic tables aside, this area is well constructed, and tidy, without detracting from the overall wilderness context.

A bunch of kids have packed up their tents and gear and are waiting for the word to go home.

This is not a wild korokio. It's a cross between Corokia buddleioides and Corokia cotoneaster known as C. x cheesemanii. It's a very popular nursery plant, which is where I suspect this came from.

Past the lodge and right up to Donnelly Flat the track is designed for vehicles.

Alice stops half way across and looks down.

Just below is the ford, between the two parallel rows of larger rocks. This photo was taken in November, and just below is one from last week. The flow has diminished considerably. In fact, as we go through, we can see how dry it has become in the last few months.

We pick up the track again, past the ford. There's a barely noticeable climb.

Ferns cover a punga trunk

Here's the first turnoff, to the Holdsworth Lookout. This will be part of my next visit down that way. You can see that something has beenscrubbed out on the board. Mountain House Hut has been demolished, a result of low use and accumulated vandalism, and been replaced by a day shelter. These days the track is good enough to make the extra hop up to Powell Hut more logical for most. Those who are going only to Mountain House are nearly all day walkers.

In November it was fairly lush. February saw it slightly crisp and many plants were doing it a lot harder.

Where there's a school party there's nearly always an impulse to autograph anything that is stationery for more than a few moments. How many kids have pocket knives these days? The other sort we know all too much about.

Here's a lavish display of lichen.





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