05-Jun-2000 -- The first Monday in June in New
Zealand is a public holiday to commemorate the Queen’s Birthday. What
better way to celebrate a birthday than to do something crazy like go to
Degree Confluence points.
I had checked out this site on the map first and saw that this point
was going to be in dense featureless bush on the Mamaku Plateau. I
planned to get there by crossing a plantation forest for which I needed
a permit. The permit was granted, but I had some difficulty in
explaining the purpose of the trip.
Anyway Alan Mountfort, my son James and my self set out in my Red
Subaru. We turned off the main highway 5.8 kms away from the point and
started on the rough forestry roads. We had no idea how far we would get
before having to walk. Initially the way was good, with only one or two
rutted spots where we had to go with care. At one point the Subaru’s
four wheel drive was all that kept us going. Eventually we were on a
road that wasn’t even marked on the map and heading straight towards the
confluence, what a bonus.
But all good things must come to an end, as did the road, 1.6kms
short. But we did find a track and followed that, it seemed to be
heading slightly to the right, but good enough.
To our surprise this track led to a little lake. This also was not
marked on the map so made a welcome surprise.
300m to go to the confluence and this was the end of the track! We
clambered up a steep bank, once at the top we attempted to find a spot
where we could get a reading on the GPS under the heavy canopy. It was a
long and delicate process and eventually ended up with me standing high
on an old log with GPS held at full arm’s length to find the right spot.
Direction of travel established we moved on. A small opening in the
canopy, caused by a windfall gave us the opportunity for the next
reading, which told us we were within 100m. Good enough but we wanted to
get closer. Another small gap in the canopy and we managed to get a
reading and we were within 20m. A thick tangle of supplejack (vines) in
the right direction told us that this was good enough.
We stopped and I photographed the GPS and my two companions. I also
photographed some interesting blue fungi that were near by. No views
from here unfortunately.
We grabbed a bite to eat and then took a compass bearing back to the
lake, the Subaru and home.