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Hiking the trig

Gisborne Canoe and Tramping Club leader Geoff Cobb’s latest hike, a circuit around Te Papa Station, did not get off to the best of starts . . . but all’s well that ends well.

A dozen of us wended our way in cars, supposedly to the station woolshed towards the end of Ngakoroa Road.

I had been picked up by Kathy and Virginia and after checking everyone was with us at the turn-off from SH2, we led the way.

Stupidly I forgot to warn the others that at one point, actually past the Te Papa house driveway, the road does a sharp left, but that the entrance to Kiora Station is straight on and could be readily mistaken for the road.

And so it transpired, the three of us waited at the yards . . . alone.

I realised what must have happened, but thought they would soon find out their error and appear.

But minutes passed and no other vehicles came into sight, so we backtracked to find them sitting at the house driveway, having been directed there by someone at Kiora.

So it was a very apologetic leader who eventually got the show on the road. I had been on the club outing the previous Sunday to Pukepapa Station and that had been a hot day.

This day promised more of the same, but we were to be saved by breezes and cloud cover at appropriate times — very welcome as the first part involved a decent haul up to the stockyards, then followed the track down before turning off onto a subsidiary track, up a side valley initially and then down to cross a creek.

We then had to regain the lost altitude to achieve our main objective, Trig A8FU, so we stopped in the shade for morning tea before the big climb.

We were thankful for the cooling wind on the last steep push which a few quailed at. But they gamely tackled it and achieved the ridge.

Here, as we walked along, we were rewarded by marvellous views to the south of the Poverty Bay Flats and Young Nicks Head. To the north lay rolling hectares of pine forest starting at the ridge fenceline.

Charlie, the farmer, had told me that some of this had belonged to the farm but had been sold to forestry interests some time ago. It did not look particularly well-tended. To save crossing farm fences we ducked into the forest and soon we were at the trig, where we had lunch.

The height of the trig was 321m — not especially high, but we had started at about only 50m, so we had tucked a good few verticals under our belts.

I had taken the club on this walk a few years before, and a month or two previously had done a reccie to re-acquaint myself with the terrain.

Both times coming off the trig had involved a pretty steep direct descent, but I had seen a track that sidled down more gradually, albeit taking one rather in reverse to where we wanted to be — by the Mangataikehu Stream marking the southern boundary that we would follow back to the start.

So the next part was, for me, unexplored territory — something I usually don't like to do, but decided it was worth it.

Taking the view that striking towards the creek we must end up on the homeward track, we gained it with no major issues.

Except that it was on this part that I found that one of the group had a phobia about cattle . . . and our route led us through several herds . . . including bulls. We carefully told her to stay in the middle of the group, and for the group to stick together, and she very bravely marched on. I think she is now volunteering for matador duties.

Then it was the not-very-energetic home leg along a creek bordered by much flowering kanuka. We had noticed the browning of the pastures and the rock-hard ground, and talking to Charlie afterwards he confirmed that drought conditions were a real possibility.

Being sheltered, I had worried that this section might be very hot, but obligingly cloud cover had rolled in for part of it.

We arrived back to refresh ourselves on oranges very obligingly provided by Gillie and Barry.

This was a very enjoyable walk. We were well-rewarded by the views at the top and a very pleasant relaxing stroll home alongside the creek.

Thanks to Charlie for allowing us to come on to the property and being so helpful — and to all the farmers who give the Gisborne Canoe and Tramping Club access. We could not operate without them.

There are great views on the Te Papa Station circuit hike. Pictures by Geoff Cobb
From the trig, we were rewarded by marvellous views to the south of the Poverty Bay Flats and Young Nicks Head.
Our group of hikers heading downhill on the main track after passing the stockyards.