Tuesday, February 23
The word is out to the local schools that there is now another good reason to locate their camps at Kaiteriteri. These pupils, with their teacher and a helping mountain biking parent, from Hope were staying at Bethany Park Camp last week and getting their first taste of the tracks.
Here, they take a breather and regroup at the top of Swamp Monster before setting off down Glade Runner.
They all looked to be enjoying themselves and, being based right at the exit of our Easy circuit, I don't doubt more than a few of them came back for more...
The focus has been on surveying new track for the past month. True to form, the Kaiteriteri terrain on the south side of the Park boundary is as gnarly as everywhere else we've been so far.
Our attempts to create a bypass to Sidewinder's switchbacks were ultimately thwarted by steep-sided gullies so, after several aborted attempts, we were forced to abandon this as an option.
Instead, we'll look to improve the berming of the existing switchbacks to make them less threatening and flow better.
And so, onto Easy Rider...
Carrying the clinometer on these expeditions is Michael Brewer. Operating as a two-man team, we've become pretty used to the rugged topography of the 180ha Recreation Reserve. Hacking our way through clumps of five-finger, mahoe, punga & ferns in the many gullies is par for the course.
The tool of choice here is my long-handled slasher, weilded as sparingly as possible for a reading to be made by sighting on my equally bright cap. As many kilometres as we've already surveyed, it's still very easy to creep up or slide down when negotiating steep country and the clinometer is essential for keeping us to the required gradient.
The gullies count as easy going, however, compared to the open slopes covered in towering gorse & bracken. The slasher makes little headway here and a combination of sawing through gorse branches and crawling over or through the bracken means each metre is hard-won. Also, the wasp nests that are relatively easy to spot in the forest are less easy to see when they're underneath the bracken! A boot in the heart of a nest is a sure way to make some new enemies...
We're now only one or two half-days from completing the surveying of Easy Rider. Already, it will count as being the longest track in the Park. Throughout its length we have endeavoured to keep it within an overall gradient range of plus or minus 5% which means, in order to make a connection down to the Riwaka-Kaiteriteri Road, we will have to create some switchbacks.
From whichever point we start to significantly drop in height, we will also begin an Intermediate-grade track that branches back up to join onto Bay View. This track will eventually traverse right to the northern boundary of the Park.
Our first working bee of 2010 is scheduled for March 7. We'll post a reminder here and email all those already on our database. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added or just kept in the loop. Meanwhile, there are always other ways to spend your Sunday mornings...