Smiths Stream, Ruahine Range, Wednesday, March 31 2010
Trampers: Keith Moretta, John Mason, Murray White, Vic Bullock, Ken Ross, Robyn Smith, Manfred Hausler, Jeanne van den Hout, Rosemary Jeffery, Peter Slagter and Kelvin Shaw
Or so it seemed after tramping for three hours and with a sign saying two more hours to go – at which point we turned around and headed home.
We set out on a warm, windless and sunny morning, arriving at the car park by 9am. Along the way, we were pleased to see that the slab crossing over the Triplex Creek had been widened and repaired. Scouring and erosion at this point had prevented further progress on the last outing in this area in February.
Ten set off on the tramp to Smiths Stream, while three dropped off along the way to set their own pace and distance.
The Waipawa River (bridge crossing) and Middle Stream, which we crossed twice, were very low, having had little rainfall recently. Crossing them was not a problem. The track has been redirected in the area approaching the Middle Stream and that has removed the need for a knotted rope to get down the bank. However, the replacement is not a lot better, looks far from permanent with loose footings and still has very steep gradients.
From the top, there were clear views of the Three Johns and surrounding hills and the sound of stags roaring was heard by some.
From the start, the target of reaching Smiths Stream hut was a big ask, and in the end we never even reached the stream, turning around after lunch at the point where the track descends steeply to the Smiths Stream. Despite offers by me to accompany someone/anyone down to the stream, there were no takers. The return to the vehicles was uneventful but completed an excellent day in the sunshine.