Mangatewainui Stream via the Apiti Track,
Wednesday, 3 February 2016
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After several scorching Hawke’s Bay summer days, we awoke to find low cloud cover. With a full vanload of 12, we drove southwards from Church Road to Norsewood. In places, the cloud was interspersed with mist but we were optimistic that it would burn off, and it did as we progressed eastwards to the Ngamoko Road end. Disembarking, we organised for the tramp and set off on a easy incline on what appeared to be a farm track, but which we were informed was an incomplete effort by the US Army to push through an alternate route to the Manawatu Gorge during WW2.Tiny orchids were spotted at the edge of the track and looking further ahead it was evident that the area had been milled or cleared at some point and regeneration was taking place on some of the hillsides.
Three of our members decided to make their way as far as they felt comfortable on what was now a warm, sunny day. The remaining nine progressed up what was initially easy going until the road disappeared and merged into the tramping track proper and bush enveloped the area.At times, the track became steeper, but it was never for long. In a clearing, we stopped for a drink and to view the surrounding hills before setting off over what was the more difficult section. Our English visitor had unfortunately lost her e-mail account in Vietnam and a lengthy dissertation by our erudite technical expert followed, causing those within hearing range to become semi-catonic.
We somehow managed to negotiate the gnarly roots and slippery sections of the track before it began to open up and we were treated to comfortable walking with vivid green moss underfoot. We stopped at the second junction for lunch before setting off on a mainly downwards, southerly direction.
While there was still moss at the sides of the track, the leaves on the track itself were so dry it was like walking on cornflakes. It seemed to take a long time before we descended steeply to the Mangatewainui River. What a welcome sight it was: sparkling clear with tree- and fern-covered banks. The group replenished water bottles and some people vowed to find a pool to collapse into, as by now the temperature was getting high. We did find a some good-sized pools and number of the party chose to float and wallow happily. Then we pressed onwards, criss-crossing the river and using the grassy banks which provided some relief from boulder-hopping.
There was a lot of deer sign and we saw one yearling which paused to watch us before bolting across the river. The adult hind with it had already made itself scarce. As we progressed, we could see pasture grass on the hillsides ahead and knew we did not have far to go. From there, it was up a farm track, across a paddock and on to the van, a change of clothes and home.
Our thanks to the landowner, Mr P O’Brien and his family, for permission to access from the river and to Kelvin Shaw for driving us safely home.
Trampers: Kelvin Shaw, Paul Exeter, Vic Bullock, Peter Slagter, John Burrell, Bruce Hodgson, Sally Wood, Jenny Porter ( English visitor), Dorothy Sole, Murray Goss, Ted Angove and writer Murray White