Smedley Station, Wednesday, June 18, 2008, the mid-week Solstice Walk
Trampers: the three Johns (Gray, Marshall and Mason), Ken Ross, Arthur and Penny Mead, Loretta Pearson, Vietta Siagian, Margaret Dorrington, Vic Bullock, Noel and Dawn Hope, Keith Moretta, Paul Exeter, Thelma Tasman-Smith, Graham Bell, Manfred Hausler, Alison Greer, Nolene Blair, Roz Snijders, Yvonne Dobbie and Garry Whincop. Report by Garry Whincop
This was a new place for virtually all of us, and it proved to be a perfect choice on Alison Greer’s part.
There were 22 of us in four vehicles on an overcast day, but dry and with a bit of mist in the distance, a day that had followed a few days of heavy rain. So the greasy underfoot conditions on the farm came as no surprise. Smedley Station is a Central HB institution with a long and well-regarded history and name. It’s no wonder; this is a beautiful block of land approaching the foothills of the Ruahines up Smedley Road.
We set off from the vehicle car park just after 8.30am with Alison leading over flat then undulating land, mainly on good farm road to start with. Perhaps the most striking feature of this property is the large number of totara. They are truly magnificent. Some stand on their own, and many are clustered in the valleys and gullies, where there are also several good stands of other lichen-covered species and some marvellous redwoods here and there.
After several creek crossings, we came to the highest point of our leisurely walk, diverting to look at one of the largest totara you’re likely to see in these parts. Everywhere, the pasture is first-rate – wet and lush. We wound round the gentle hills, over flat areas and past huge cabbage trees, some also as big you’re likely to see anywhere.
Now and again, we caught glimpses of the cadets at work in the field, mustering healthy-looking sheep. We had stopped for a bite to eat just before 10am and eventually arrived back at the vehicles after having completed a rough circuit of that part of the property, just after noon. A quick change of clothes, then a drive back down Smedley Rd to Kay Galbraith’s very nice home-stay for a shared lunch. A lovely hostess, a fire going, good company, mulled wine (even better) and one or two other interesting concoctions. And a birthday cake for Noel’s special birthday.
All-in-all, a great way to celebrate the solstice: laid-back, leisurely – and something quite different.