A diverse day
Red Hills - Maitland Ridge circuit – Sunday 5 May 2019
With the days quickly shortening the meeting time was brought forward to 7.30am. This meant that after a stop to pick up two people in Wakefield, the main group was able set off up the four wheel drive road to Beebys Knob at 8.45am. The initial pace was fairly slow as we waited for the four drivers to catch up after shuttling their vehicles around to the end point.
It was a glorious morning with clear views across to the Raglan Range and down the Wairau Valley. We were able to make the most of the views during our morning tea break about 20 minutes before the Maitland track junction. The walk along the Maitland Ridge was pleasant, through open beech forest with a carpet of bright green moss. We reached a large clearing on the ridge crest just on twelve o’clock; a very nice spot for lunch with views down the Wairau Valley to the sea.
Down at the Red Hills Hut we had an afternoon tea break while soaking up the glorious sunshine. On the trip down to the carpark Chris challenged everyone to spot the dwarf mistletoe on the manuka bushes. We were surprised to find a few gentians in flower in the middle of the track at this time of year. It was Gentianella stellata, a species only found on the local ultramafic soils.
Crossing the stream just before the carpark tested the balance skills of a few of our tired members but everyone got across without incident. Yes, it was a long trek (19 kilometres in just on 7½ hours) but the weather and diversity of the surroundings made it very enjoyable.
The fifteen participants were Alison, Maria, Robyn, Julian, Joy, David S, Lesley G, Marian, Chris, Jo and visitors Gael, Sue, Astrid, Varnia and Andrew.