Man!! That was a day.
Some days you can have sufficient adventure. I’m hoping for a little less than the future.
First was getting down Swale Stream to Kangaroo Corner. The initial section involved some bush bashing through savagely prickly matagouri, generally recommended to be avoided, and then sidling under a cliff with plenty of scree, with lose stuff to get around. After a while I joined a track that was easy-going. That was how they got horses down the valley. When I say track I mean if you manuka automatic shrubs had been cut. That section was easy as.
Unfortunately the route was blocked by some big boulders and instead just continuing down the river, it turned out I could have done that, I joined the horse route and enjoyed more cardiac workout climbing steeply for 100 m, and then having a scree slope to traverse, followed by a scramble back down to the river.
By that time I’d lost any path and made my own way. This was right under some serious cliffage with plenty of new white rocks scattered around to think about.
Lots of goats, a few day-old kids, provided the musical background. Actually I saw plenty of goats for the day, ie, more than 50, and was amazed where they ended up on steep slopes, happily munching away.
Kangaroo Corner did have a diminishing lake. Unfortunately a 3 m gap was at least a similar amount deep, so rather than swimming, I used my goat capabilities and scrambled around in the matagouri on a cliff.
I’d been advised that I didn’t need to climb directly to the top of Mead Hill, but in retrospect it might have been more straightforward just to take the direct approach. Instead I did a lot of sidling at altitude on the steep slope that showed considerable cracking from the recent earthquakes.
I could see grassy meadows in the distance as I approached a massive slip stopped easy progress. I had to climb to the top of the ridge, up to about 1000 m, to get around it.
At that point a significant portion of the Clarence River valley was on show. Mead Stream had smashed through the end of Mead Hill with some colossal slips the whole length. Tappy still had snow atop even though the weather had been warm for the previous four days.
I could see across the Clarence, that actually takes a bend before this point and heads more directly to the sea. The sea was in fact apparent at two points, but with the cloudy day wasn’t distinctly blue.
I could see a way down to the road down just below me, and popped over the edge. Much of the way I just arsed it, as the long grass was hard to negotiate in my boots.
On the way down I saw five four-wheel-drives making their way along the road. It’s New Year’s Eve so I guess there was a party up the valley. Later on they turned back as they had just gone for a walk.
I engaged in another discussion about crossing land. Not quite as friendly as the earlier time, there was some hostility to my presence. It all proved to be a Big Issue, despite reassurances from me that I wasn’t going to use the huts, would stay on the road, scurry through, and leave no trace.
For now I’m camped near the Mead Stream. The weather is overcast but not threatening.
I couldn’t be further from civilisation for New Year’s Eve.
Anyone would think I’ve planned it that way.← Day 11 | near Old Swale Hut Day 13 | Almost to Ravine Hut →