The genesis of the trip followed a conversation with Nic Blair with regard to guiding another trip in the Akatarawa forest, as he had done in May. After consideration of a couple of options we decided that a trip to Mt Climie via an alternative route might be a good idea.
Nic promised a good day’s tramping on a less used track, so the schedule was set….
Gail and I left Masterton at 08.00 to be at the start point, the Tunnel gully recreation area, for 09.30, with a brief stop to pick up Rowan in Greytown. Nic was to meet us at the start, with one other member of the party, Helen also meeting us at the start point. All was well by 10.00, after a short delay, due to google maps directed Helen to the start ofthe Remutaka trail at Kaitoke, with perhaps plans to send her through the bike tracks to reach us! Nic had also realised by this time that he had no socks for the day, admitting that he had recently admonished someone else for the same thing!
We had parked by the “top carpark” at the end of the 4x4 track, which is the usual route up to Mt Climie. We however descended to our start and joined the “Upper Tane’s track”, travelling along this for about 5 minutes. At a tight turn in the track, next to a bench seat, an obvious track started to climb the ridge that we were to take to point 614. The ridge loosely followed the line of the railway tunnel far beneath our feet, and although steep, was worn enough to provide easy travel and navigation. Occasional permolat or paint spots marked the route, climbing just under 400m of vertical ascent. At this high point we were to turn South to follow the ridge, however a track also travels North, toward “Goat rock” and the Remutaka rail trail. It also had a curious concrete pillar a couple of minutes travel in this direction, which appeared to be a Trig or survey marker. It sits directly over the Railway tunnel, and it has been suggested by others that it was the marker for a ventilation shaft.
We stopped for a short drink and snack break at this point, before heading South along the ridge top towards Point 792. The bush was a mainly Beech Forest, but with areas of newer low growth, and the constant presence of mosses and lichen covering all. We noted the difference of the nature of the bush on the northern compared to the southern sides of the ridge, obviously affected by sunlight and prevailing winds.
Occasional openings on either one side of the ridge or the other gave views of the Hutt valley and the Te Awa Kairangi/ Hutt River, across to Mana Island, or occasional views of Lake Wairarapa and across to the Eastern Wairarapa hills.
The ridge was easy to travel over, occasionally open areas gave a grander view, and a
chance to fight threw small areas of low growing plants!
After traversing Point 792 and feeling a bit hungry, we decided to have lunch once we had made the last of the big climbing of the day at Point 857, which was looming ahead. The weather had been generally good, although as forecast the wind had swung southerly, and was blowing over the ridge, making it a bit cool. The cloud base was well over us, and sun and shade were constantly changing. We had also had a few drops of showery rain, that never came to anything to worry about. Lunch was taken at about 13.00, with the two dogs that were on the trip keen to get hold of Rowan’s bacon rolls, as were some of the humans!
The trip leader also produced a block of Jelly Tip chocolate as had been promised earlier in the day.
By 14.30 we had dropped through the saddle and climbed over Point 828, and dropped onto the 4x4 track just off of Climie North summit. Five minutes took us up to the repeater station, and a chance to get some further views, including Wellington and the South Island.
The steady tramp back down the 4x4 track gave all of us a chance to feel our quads, due to the steep nature of the track and took just over an hour to descend in a straight line, what had taken about four hours to climb over a far more interesting route.
We arrived back at the carpark at 16.00 hours, having had a great day in all respects.
Gail – Trip leader, Nic – Guide, Helen, Rowan, Conrad, Boots and Fi – the hounds