Sunday morning dawned with glimmers of sunshine and rain not forecasted until the afternoon – lucky us! We had 14 people (must be your innate charm, Lorna!) which worked out well as we needed to take an extra vehicle anyway to do a juggling act with transport. Of the 14, three were new to the club and a pleasure to meet.
The loop track starts off just above the Karioi Lodge, off Whaanga Road, and climbs steadily and rather steeply in places for 2-3 hours. We were warned that bait had just been laid along the track and can testify to its efficacy as we spied a couple of recently deceased possums along the side of the track. The well-marked and well maintained track follows a ridge, through some pleasant bush, to a nice look out point where we stopped for lunch. A chance to catch our breath and enjoy a chat with our fellow trampers.
Talk in our group evolved to discussions around ‘extreme adventures’ similar to those profiled in the recent Mountain and Banff film festivals and ended with Kevin recalling a film he’d seen by which time the people featured were with us no more! I don’t think the newcomers found this particularly comforting given we had some steep downwards section of track, complete with chains, yet to come….
The loop track continues along the ridge from the lookout until it meets the main Karioi traverse track which is maintained by DOC. Having thought the track would be muddy we were all pleasantly surprised that it was fairly dry with the exception of one or two patches. Chris S managed to find a particularly deep patch!
And yes – some of the downward sections after lunch were quite steep and ‘tricky’, but we all made it safely down, albeit with a muddy bottom or two to show for our efforts.
We came out at the road exit after 5 and a half hours and had a chance to enjoy the view of the gorge from the lookout along the coast before it began to drizzle: perfect timing.
I’m sure everyone will agree that it was a fun day, so many thanks to Lorna and Cate for organising it. And special thanks to Kevin who looked after our visitors so well!