Story and photos by Murray Taylor
This year’s Rangitikei Station to Station 4WD Trek was a one-day event held on Saturday March 4 to raise funds for the Rangitikei Community Multi-Sport Turf project supporting Nga Tawa Diocesan School.
My weekend started on Friday with a trip west to Vinegar Hill Domain and the DOC campsite on the banks of the Rangitikei River. It’s a great spot, and comes complete with large flood warning signs and electronic gear in place for the safety of all who use it.
Next morning I woke to the birds calling and a tinge of red in the sky. As the old saying goes, ‘Red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning,’ and sure enough, the grey clouds were gathering as I packed up camp and headed to the registration and start point of the Station to Station event.
With signs up and people to direct one as to parking, along with paperwork to be completed, and how to get to morning tea on the front lawn, the organising committee was very much ready as vehicles started arriving in groups or on their own, one even on a recovery truck (already? Ed)!
Time for the briefing rolled around real quick, so once everyone had completed registration, collected lunch and we had all listened to Alex and Mark tell us about the day ahead, one and all headed back to their vehicles to start the morning’s event..
With the old Range Rover (green) in the lead the rest of the party trailed along behind, and after a very short section of tarseal we turned hard right into our first property of the day. This was followed by a gentle climb up a very good farm track with a bit of dust around and great views up and down the valley as we climbed higher.
What goes up always eventually comes down, of course, and before long we were travelling downhill with a fence line on one side, before dropping down to a small creek.
It was along this section that we found the only bit of real mud for the day in the water table - three very short sections all on corners - before a narrow section of track alongside a couple of good sized trees.
Further on was a typical farm bridge set in amongst a group of trees, one way and definitely a single vehicle at a time. Once over the bridge it was all uphill before heading across country, through paddocks with stock and in some cases lots of thistles before the section ended as we headed along Agnews Road, with the odd plop of rain on the windscreen.
The precipitation was nothing serious, just enough to keep the dust down as we headed along public gravel roads towards Te Kumu Woolshed and our lunch stop; not where it was originally intended, but due to the rain we had, the crew decided to break for lunch at Te Kumu while the onwards part of the truck was inspected.
Fortunately during lunch the weather improved for the better with the rain stopping altogether and the sun coming out. In fact, with the breeze it all dried out rather quickly.
Lunch over it was back into the trucks as we headed towards Tauparae Trig at 813 metres (2670ft) above sea level to take in the great views of the surrounding area. Along the way we passed Lake Te Kumu, put in in 2000 and rebuilt again in 2005 after being lost to flood in 2004, home to both Teal and Scorp along with great duck shooting.
We also crossed the bottom of the Tauparae paddock comprising 453 hectares (1117 acres) in the one paddock before the climb to Tauparae Trig, and a break to take in the view. This was also a time to talk with others on the trek as we waited for the tail to catch up as it was a one way track to the top of the hill.
The day was going fast as we left Tauparae Trig and headed maybe south along the ridge tops still at around 600m in elevation, past Te Namu before heading down into the Mangapapa River valley, which we travelled alongside of before heading up Hukanui Stream.
We crossed the stream before the last and best climb of the day, labelled on our running sheet notes as Lake Hill, “where many a shepherd has come to grief.” There was an easy way, but yes it was a great little climb being some 100m vertical, with a very rough surface, the ideal way to finish a great day’s outing.
At the top we stopped for a few pics and spotted a single vehicle have a couple attempts at one section in the climb, but otherwise it was a slow climb for the rest before returning on the Otairi Station’s main track and down Long Gully to the historic building of Otairi Station, the BBQ and refreshments being set up outside the Shearers Quarter, along with camping for any wishing to stay the night in the Dog Training paddock just behind.
The hamburger was just the item to finish the day along with a chat to those about. A small speech from Alex ,and the chairman of Nga Tawa school thanking all those who attended and their support for the event.
To the organizers Alex, Fi and all the others involved, thank you, to the sponsors for their support and especially to those land owners who allowed us all to travel over their land. It is a great privilege, one as I write this I think about, remembering all the great countryside I saw and the tracks we travelled on. Thank for allowing us into your country.
To read every story in the May 2017 issue of NZ4WD go to Zinio.com (April 21) or purchase your own hard copy at the Adrenalin store.