Apiti Track/Mangatewainui River, Saturday February 25 – Map BL36
Two carloads of trampers headed south for unknown pastures (or so we thought) inland from Norsewood, accompanied by two Rotary exchange students from Canada and Switzerland.
The further south we travelled, the less murky the hills and the higher the spirits became. John Marshall headed off over the farm, intending to walk upstream, take pictures and catch up with us later in the day. The rest departed at 8.30am, climbing leisurely over regenerating, scrubby farmland and pausing for occasional views. The girls were impressed at the pace (and we thought we were going slow!) of us oldies.
Once in the bush, the track degenerated, with plenty of windfall obstacles to negotiate, erosion in places and greasy underfoot, leading to some slipping and sliding. It’s been a while since DoC did any maintenance in these parts! Kelvin’s gadget came in very handy for those plagued by unwanted hanger-onners which attached themselves to hairy legs (and my head).
A sheltered clearing presented itself with perfect timing for lunch… and the subsequent raindrops disappeared as soon as people donned their raincoats. Two of the team backtracked, with the girls intending to meet us at the other road-end with the vehicles.
En route to the river below, one of the party recognised a mossy ‘wall’ and later recalled a ‘Keep Out’ sign… not so unfamiliar after all! We crossed the stream repeatedly, knee-deep at worst, occasionally faster-moving but without needing to link up. Only one person managed to get wet and one laid himself unintentionally out on the river stones. A couple of clear deep pools would have been perfect on a hot summer’s day… but it was not to be! However, the sun shone and blue skies and white fluffies prevailed at our afternoon tea spot before it clouded over again.
Rounding the last bend, we spotted John on the farm track above the river and hailed him to wait up for us. We took to the paddocks, clambering over electric fences to avoid the frisky young bulls on the other side and a grand-daddy bull who kept bellowing at us. It started to sprinkle again as we approached the road-end to find… no vehicles. We soon spotted the others still descending the track and continued walking along the road, arriving just before 4pm.
A quick change (the rain came to nothing) and we were back on the road again heading for The Sawyers Arms at Tiko. The sun came out again and we relaxed outside before heading back to town to find there’d been a couple of heavy showers which we’d missed. Lucky us!
Trampers: Kelvin Shaw, Marc Marchal, Sue Marshall, Denise Payne, John Marshall, Viv Bramley, Sue Martin, Sam (student), Linda (student) and Jude Paton