Seven hardy souls met at the BP Connect at Bombay in mist, and a howling, cold wind. After fortification
from hot coffees we headed down Highway 1 to start the day's tramp. A slight delay occurred while we
listened to the excitement of Emirates Team NZ winning the first race of the day only to find they had
exceeded the time limit! |
After parking the vehicles at the DOC carpark at the end of Mangapiko
Valley Road we headed up the valley along a well-used and very muddy farm track. We soon cut off the
farm track into the Mangapiko Valley Scenic Reserve and climbed to the ridge through regenerating bush.
The weather held and conditions were quite pleasant. After following the fence line for a short distance
we cut back into the bush before climbing back to the ridge that was to take us to the first high point
- the Pukeitionga Station.
This was our first decision point! The wind was howling over the
ridge we had to climb and the cloud was right down. We could only just see the transmitter station at
the top of the climb through the fast moving cloud. After some deliberation it was decided we would make
an attempt and if any of the party were uncomfortable with the strength of the wind we would all turn
back. Seven hardy souls made it to the top before dropping again into the bush on the other side to
The walk through the bush was very pleasant with glades of fresh, green fern and
regenerating rewarewa, rimu, totara. Out of the wind we found a sheltered spot for some lunch. We had
a brief sharing time rather than a set devotional with Jay sharing some encouraging thoughts on how God
speaks to us from many sources even including media reports! The challenge is to be listening for, and
hearing God speak.
After lunch two of the party decided that a more leisurely return to the cars
was called for while the rest of us braved the howling gale once more to climb to the Maungakawa Trig
(535m) - the high point of the tramp. On a good day the view is spectacular, from Mt Pirongia in the
south across to the Kaimai's in the east and north to the Firth of Thames and the Coromandel. This was
not a good day and we saw nothing! But we were strangely exhilarated from the battle to conquer the wind
and mist and the climb. We turned back satisfied that we had reached our goal and enjoyed a fast paced
hike back to the cars arriving back 6 hours after starting out. It was 3.30pm when we headed home to
warm showers and a well-earned cup of tea!