Oroua River and Ngamoko Range 2-3 Feb

Eight on this trip arrived at Petersons roadend in two utes, after picking up Murray at Norsewood. The day was kind although the forecast not encouraging. On arriving at Heritage [or Alice Nash Lodge] we found an enormous jigsaw puzzle on the table so most tried to add a piece or two to the scant bones of it at that time.

It had been years since I had been there and I recalled the trip to Iron Gate as a river womble but soon found that there were some considerable ups and downs, some because of slip/landslide events. I think we arrived about 2pm ish, collected firewood, explored the area and several of us went a fair way up the track to the Ngamoko Range, checking a few stoat traps including a very manky rat in one! A leisurely time preparing meals, eating and chatting and a reasonably early bedtime.

I had asked for volunteers to come with me up to the Ngamoko Range along the tops south to Tunupo high point and down the long ridge back to near Alice Nash Lodge. Only one victim was forthcoming, Dale . Just after 7am next morning we set off for the tops, and intended to check all the traps [about 140 of them] on the way…only those that had catches as we had no new bait. We hit the tops at about 11am on a bright sunny day, in fact the travel along the tops was very hot with the heat reflection back up from the tussock. So much so that we became short on water, we did fill a bottle each from a tarn but on seeing the colour ditched it. So thirsty, we did the short detour to Heritage Lodge to quench our thirst and back to the car park.

We found about 8 rats in various stages of freshness, 2 stoats and a half grown possum. With checking the traps the travel time was quite a bit slower and we did not get to Tunupo until about 3.30. We had expected to be out by 4-5pm. I phoned Glenda [her phone in fact was locked in my ute] and Sue and Derek who I did not know had not brought theirs… to advise of our probable 6 – 6.30 arrival at the carpark. As the other six party members[who had returned back down the river]  had been at the carpark since about mid afternoon, and apparently every so often one would pace over to the fence to see if we were coming up the track in the paddock ! About 4pm Glenda found that Murray had his phone, the last one we thought would be so…  she phoned me… ‘where the hell are you’ etc. So with them now knowing the situation, 4 of them left for home soon after. The ridge down from Tunupo is about 6km long and although downhill, not allowing fast travel. In the end Dale and self were out at 7pm so had had a grunty 17km 12 hour day ! Dale as a new member, after this, has been inducted into the ‘A’ team Hall of Fame ! I hope he comes back !

We departed on the back roads heading for Woodville, arrived at the fish and chip shop near the Caltex station, only a few minutes before their closing time at 8pm. They had a free cup of tea too which went down well while we waited. Off with the parcels to barbeque tables at the park by the toilets and enjoyed the feed in the half dark. Home about 11 pm.

JM

Team — Derek B , Janice L , Anne D , Susan L , Glenda H , Dale B , Murray A and John M

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