We had the unique experience recently of completing a new track in just two Sunday morning working bees.
To be fair, all it involved was clearing regrowth from an old road that belonged to the time when the Reserve was a forestry block. We've come across a few of these on our track surveying missions - bush-bashing our way through thickets of broadleaf, tree ferns & kanuka to suddenly find ourselves on a wide bench - but never have they suited our purposes as well as our latest discovery.
In fact, it was along the exact route where we had discussed the need for a track!
We wanted an easier option to link Tank with Swish, bypassing the steep, rutted climb to the water tank that gives Tank its name.
We also wanted to provide a safe way for people to get from Swish to Tank, rather than climbing the steep, blind corner with the ever-present risk of meeting someone bombing down from the water tank at 30-40 kph.
And here it was, just waiting to be rediscovered...
Out front, you've got the pioneers.
They're keen to see what's coming up, what challenges or surprises they may find, what the lie of the land is.
They don't mind getting scratched or pricked - even the possibility of wasp nests doesn't hold them back.
Michael Moss, Steve Fry & Mike Nelson led the charge on this w/bee, hacking and sawing their way through undergrowth and fallen kanuka so that a route emerged for others to follow...
In their wake came 'the grubbers' - guys like Bill Hollick (and many others out of shot) who hack out the bench with mattocks/grubbers and give the track its riding line.
Sometimes you can get whole lines of these tireless workers, swinging their grubbers in a kind of graceful harmony.
You might expect that to be accompanied by some mournful, chain-gang, chant but they're too busy chatting and catching-up with each other's news for that.
Few things make a more satisfying sight for a track-builder than seeing rideable trail emerge before your eyes.
And no more satisfying feeling than counting off the completed metres at the end of the morning. At least, until you get to ride it..
We dub them our Ministry of Fun. Their task is to identify potential features in advance and make sure that they are left for them to craft into rollers, steps, jumps or tabletops.
We generally leave a few tools by the track for the first week or two because these are the ones most likely to return after a few test rides to make sure it's jumping, pumping and flowing as it should.
Here Jay Nelson, Tom Filmer and Thomas Williams finish some final grooming on a tabletop, watched on by Bill and Quinne Weber.
So, all integral elements of a good track-building crew, complementing and complimenting each other's efforts in bringing a new track to life :-)
Jill Clendon had read about the w/bee on our facebook page and thought she'd check out our progress.
Her timing couldn't have been more perfect!
We were all standing round admiring our handiwork when Jill came swooping round the corner, grinning from ear to ear.
There's nothing volunteers love more than hearing appreciation for our efforts and Jill was generous with hers. Being a good sport, she even agreed to 'test-ride' the tabletop for us.
I'm sure next time you're back, Jill, you'll be getting air off it !
And what are we calling this short and sweet addition to the Park network..?
In other news...
Some of you may have noticed that we've begun the upgrade to Salivater to bring it within grade for the cycleway to Kaiteriteri. This involves a complete remodelling of this track so it will be closed for the duration of the work. Please refrain from riding it while the tape is up.
In the meantime, use Half-Pipe to connect with the main network and be aware of those coming up if you're going down.