The weather can often be fickle in spring with raincoats the order of the day but this year we seem to have enjoyed a dry stable patch, at least in the upper North Island, which has allowed most of the club’s trips to go ahead in the dry.   So, it proved on this tramp which was fortuitous as we had one of the club’s largest turnouts with 17 trampers, including 5 new faces.

With plenty of chat it seemed no time at all before we arrived at the end of Franklin Road and the start of the tramp. After getting our gear sorted and introductions all round, we had barely gone a dozen paces when a couple of observant members looked back to see the door of the van still open. A rather sheepish driver returned to lock the van before we all followed the Waitawheta Tramline for approx. forty or so minutes before branching off to Daly’s clearing hut.

I had forgotten how pretty and healthy the second-growth bush on this track is, clad in fresh spring growth with a sprinkling of Rewarewa flowers on the ground. With only a slight uphill gradient It wasn’t long before we arrived at Daley’s where we stopped for morning tea in the sunshine.

Fifteen or so minutes after the hut we turned right onto the Mangakino Pack Track and followed this through to the Waitawheta River which we had to cross a couple of times. Lynne had warned us that the river could be deep and swift after rain but this wasn’t the case today with Jane, one of our new members, rock hopping across without getting her shoes wet while Janice changed into boat shoes which she had thoughtfully packed. For the rest of us it was wet feet.

The walk down the river was lovely with plenty of huge Kauri to admire. DOC has done a good job of fencing off the trees and rerouting the track to avoid these giants of the forest and hopefully they do not suffer the fate of their northern cousins.

An hour or so later we arrived at Dickeys Flat car park where we organised a couple of car shuttles and then all drove to Paeroa where it was ice creams all round and the end of a very enjoyable day out. Thanks to Lynne and Ian for organising and leading the trip.