5th March 2019
10th March 2019
On an overcast, threatening to rain day, 6 trampers turned out for our venture to Clear stream. Although 1 vehicle could have taken us all -we needed 2 for the transfer. So at the Maerewhenua Bridge, one vehicle was left and we all continued on towards Danseys Pass to the Lavender Farm area. Downstream from here for almost 10km following Clear Stream. The Gorge has amazing rock formations, both in the stream and in the steep hills above.
It was a slowish careful walk clambering up over and down rocks and banks. Only 1 mishap when one tramper had an unintended dip. Fortunately no injuries as rather rugged terrain.
We were through the gorge part for lunch, then an easier ramble down the rest of the stream to the junction of the waters. One new additional interest, was the discovery of a gold dredge. We wish them luck, as we spied no gold, but we did see some rather nice trout! We did manage to locate the headstone of J Jones, a gold miner who died from Tutu berries in the 1860’s.
A vehicle transfer, then we were on our way back to Oamaru mid-pm.
It was great to have a new member Nicky out with us, and hope to see her many more times as she discovers N Otago’s ‘treasures in the hills’.
Nicky, Chris, Julian, Sam, John and Jane
20 members were at the Clubs March meeting, with some preliminary discussion on trip planning, which will be looked at further next month.
The Ahuriri Bike ride had 6 members riding up the Ahuriri Valley from just past the Birchwood Homestead because of serious washouts further on. This entailed riding the 9k on a rough road to the locked gate. Some decided to turn back at this point, while the rest rode to Shamrock Hut for lunch, shared with a swarm of voracious lunching sandflies.
Several members spent the day at Camp Iona showing the Arthur Street school children the basics of bush craft, including what to take and practising river crossings.
A trip down Clear Stream from the lavender farm to the Beatie’s Hill bridge was enjoyed.
Otago Aniversary weekend, tramping from the East Ahuriri to Lake Dumbell and tenting at the tarns on the way, and two Herbert Forest days doing track maintenance and checking traps.
Wednesday Walkers walks were the Herbert Forest clockwise circuit, followed by a swim at Cosy Dell and an evening barbeque Milmines, Mt. Dryburgh with 2 groups doing either a short or long walk, Deep Stream where we saw the preparations for the next days A2O Ultra Marathon, and Derden Hill and Mt. Baldy a new walk behind Waikouaiti.
Guest Speaker was club member Bronwyn McCone who spoke and showed photos of the first part of her Cruise to “Siberia’s Forgotten Coastline”.
With only a 30 day Russian visa allowed and a 29 day cruise, it involved some slick work by her travel agent to get in and out of Russia in the remaining 24 hours.
The cruise was on the same ship that Bronwyn had done Antartic cruises on and started at Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy on the Russian side of the Bearing Sea, visiting the fiords up the coast towards the Artic Ocean. They needed permission to land anywhere, and on Bearing Island, not far from the USA owned Aleutian Islands of Alaska, they were not allowed to take pictures of the military installations or personal.
They were able to travel up rivers in Zodiacs seeing wildlife feeding on salmon and walk up valleys and over the tundra among the blossoming rhododendron and ranunculus wild flowers. Highlights were seeing lots of brown bears, artic foxes, grey and humpback whales, thousands of walruses, sea otters, puffins and sea eagles. The first part of her cruise finished in Anadyr.
17th February 2019
It was an early start for the several keen punters off to the Ahuriri. We met at the Wrinkly Ram for a shot of coffee to lube our brains for action. It was a lovely drive down Birchwood Road into the Ahuriri, with endless blue skies and a temp of 10 degs – perfect for a wee bike.
We stopped the cars just past the Birchwood Homestead as the road was definitely not in working order – pot-holes resembling meteor craters. We jumped on our bikes and rode the 9 km to the carpark at the end of Birchwood Road. Asides from a couple four wheel drivers, would-be trampers and a few fancy tourists – presumably trying their hand at fly-fishing – we felt like we had the valley to ourselves.
Lynne turned back at the start of the trail – knowing by the time she’d return to the vehicle, it’d be a not-too-shabby 18k. The rest of us decided to make for the first hut ‘Shamrock Hut’ which was supposedly 4k from the start.
The start ? Where was the start ? The jolly start was a bit of a wash-out. Plenty of rain had been through and removed all semblance of a track start so that wasted a bit of time locating it. For future reference, head for the Canyon Creek track (indicated by the dunny far left) and then you’ll note where the track splits to the right (and therefore to the Ahuriri river).
It was very minisculy uphill, and into a slight head-wind, however the view in front of us and to each side was pretty splendid.
Shamrock hut was tucked up in the bush-line on the left, barely visible to the naked eye and therefore completely understandable that the leader biked 2k’s past it. We were just fortunate for the matured eyesight of the team. It looked like a good hut from initial inspection but after getting comfortable for lunch we identified a most savage and densely populated sandfly kingdom. Kim and Mark moved us to the wind to escape the sandfly-menace and we ate our lunch in relative comfort with stunning, rugged scenery in abundance.
After lunch, we had THE BEST bike back ! With only one small uphill grunt it was basically a downwards ZOOM back to the vehicles. The return voyage was made all the sweeter with pints, chips and icecream. Cheers everyone !
Sunday 3 February 2019
Two cars taking eight trampers arrived at the airstrip at the end of Mt Pisgah Road at 9.30am, after the 130km drive from Oamaru over the Pigroot. By 9.45 we were on the track, heading up the gently sloping flats to the base of Mount Pisgah which loomed challengingly ahead. It was then straight up the broad, tussocky spur. The weather was perfect – clear, sunny skies but with a light easterly breeze to provide some cooling. After about 1 ½ hours, four of the party stopped for a breather and drink on a flatter area before the steep climb to a rocky knob, while the other four headed straight for the knob. By 12 noon, the two groups met up at the rocky knob for another spell and to admire the huge spread of the Maniototo Plain below. The next phase involved a series of steep climbs towards knobs, followed by short level stretches, then another climb to another knob etc. At one point the climb crossed a garden of Celmisias which must have been a picture when they were flowering only a couple of weeks earlier.
Finally, the climbing stopped and the last stretch covered a level rocky plateau leading to the craggy summit standing only a few metres above several other knobs along the plateau. The first of the party reached the summit at around 1.15, the remainder arriving progressively until the last straggled in at 2 o’clock. It was still warm despite the exposed nature of the summit, and lunch was consumed while admiring the 3600 views, listing names for the jar secreted in the rocks and computing the average age of the party, whose combined years totalled 511. Fog could be seen approaching from the east and enveloping Kakanui Peak, which prompted a discussion about return route options before setting off about 2.30.
The return route involved walking northward along the 4wd track which traverses much of the Kakanuis’ main ridge, dropping down 100 metres into a dip and climbing up the other side to the top of the ridge immediately to the north of the one we had ascended. The descent from there was relatively straight forward: a steep descent through tussock and rock followed by a short level stretch to a knob, then another steep descent – this pattern being repeated seemingly innumerable times. On the way down a lone wilding pine was encountered and dispatched. Finally the bottom was reached about 5.30pm by means of a steep sidle off the ridge to avoid a matagouri patch. This led to a stream which enabled water supplies to be replenished, then up the bank on the other side to follow a fence which climbed back to meet the track down the gently sloping flats to the cars. Apart from one member who had taken a shorter route off the top and had been reclining in the shade for some time, the party reached the cars at 6 o’clock. A long and hard day – over 8 hours, covering 14 ½ kms and climbing over 1000 metres – but a satisfying one for Maurice, Phyllis, Bess, Julian, Marian, Jane, Robbie and John.