Winter Solstice, Te Mata Peak Walkway, June 22 2011
On many previous Winter Solstice trips, there has been a lot of snow on the ground – sometimes nearly knee deep. Not so this year: a record mild start to winter has kept the ranges bare of the white stuff. So it was rather ironic we had chosen to stay away from the ranges and tackle Te Mata Peak instead.
Thick fog enveloped most of Hawke’s Bay and the markers for the walkway that starts on Waimarama Road were hard to pick out at first. A steep climb up the grassy ridge brought us out above the Black Barn golf course and what a view! The cameras came out as we broke through into bright sunshine and looked down across the whole Heretaunga Plains covered in fog.
The group regathered and set off up the fence line where we seemed to pick up the walkway markers again after losing them down below in the thick grass. Smoko was had at the water tanks just above the Peak House restaurant, then it was down the track to the main gates following the “nature trail” leading to the Redwoods. It was a lot cooler here under the trees, so we did not linger – although Ken was tucking into his early lunch and had to pack it away quickly.
From the Redwoods, it’s a climb up the Goat Track that leads to the trig atop the Peak. What a fabulous day, so good that Ken flattened the battery on his camera taking so many photos! After the compulsory group photo under the trig, we made our way down, retracing our steps back to the vehicles. Here we were treated to chocolate birthday cake courtesy of Ron, then it was off on a ”tiki tour” around the Tukituki valley arriving at Clifton Bay café around 2pm for a late social lunch.
It had been a wonderful day and good to have a big group out enjoying it.
Trampers: Ken Ross, Kelvin Shaw, Dianne Hills, John Marshall, Ron Morison, Vic Bullock, Murray White, Paul Exeter, John Burrell, Robyn Smith, John Gray, Rosemary Jeffery, Julia Mackie, Les O’Shea, visitor Gizenna, and Alison Greer