Burtton’s Track on the Te Araroa trail February 4
For the long weekend the Club journeyed over the Tararua Ranges to near Tokomaru. Five of us left Masterton and waited a few minutes at Scotts Road for local members to join us. It was then about a 20 minute drive to the road end at a forestry road.
Nine of us left our transport drivers, hoping that we would see them at the other end of the track, some 17km distant. It was overcast and cool, ideal tramping weather. The track initially passed through an area of cleared forest, after an hour or so we reached a stile at the Forest Park boundary, time for a snack and a drink.
The native forest was noticeably darker under thick bush cover, and very muddy for the first hour or more as we made our way down to the Tokomaru River. The route crosses two small streams before reaching the Tokomaru, after recent rains all the water courses were higher than usual, but still easily crossable. A day or two prior would not have been so good, the grass on the banks a metre or more above the water level had been well covered.
As we reached the Tokomaru the sun shone, briefly, while we stopped for lunch, sitting on a handy log. After crossing the river we followed the track through private land before re-crossing the river, shortly after we came to the old Whare site where Jim Burtton had spent many years while he farmed the land from 1908 to 1941.
After the Whare the track followed the original pack track which Jim Burtton had constructed, this was overgrown in many places, but still visible enough to see the huge amount of work done to construct it.
On the way out we met Ian, he had driven around and walked in to meet us, we now were sure we had transport at the end! Once out to the vehicle we drove up the Mangahao Road to our accommodation for the night at an old DSIR house between the upper and lower dams. A good pot luck dinner followed before some local members drove home.
Next morning after an early start three members set off south to Te Matawai Hut, Waitewaewae Hut and eventually Otaki Forks. Three of us remained at the house, taking the time to explore around the upper and lower dams and clean the house before heading home on Monday.
Those on the first day’s trip:
Jason, Terry, Julie, Ben, Ronnie, Bob, Nigel & Ian