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Mokaihaha Track, 21 November 2021, Grade 2+

After the usual gathering at the car park in Collingwood st, we all set off in two vans, both full. First stop, the toilets at Tirau, was welcomed by many. Keith set a cracking pace in his van with Dianne suggesting he must have been speeding. Nevertheless, we arrived at our destination, the Mokaihaha Ecological Area on South Rd Mamaku, all rearing to go. After an introductory talk with Keith outlining (with great detail) exactly where we all going, we separated into the two graded groups.  The 2+ Grade set off on the Mokaihaha track, while the others started at West Road. 

It was a pleasant walk for about 500m up to Lake Rotohokahoka, which was hardly a lake at all, more of a large swampy puddle. By all accounts it was very special to Maori back in the day as they used to catch eels here. We did wonder how the eels got into the lake in the first place. Continuing on that track we wandered along on a rather nice track where the mature trees were mostly tawa with other large podocarps like rimu appearing here and there. 

There were quite a few windfalls that were not really a problem to navigate around. However, one in particular, proved a challenge for a tardy group at the back who were not paying attention. The boys said it was the girls' fault who were so busy chatting, yet the boys too were chatting and didn't notice that the trail had disappeared. Some swift thinking soon brought about a few short and sharp blows on the trusty whistle which had been gifted by the Wanderers Club. This soon bought the leader back to the tardy group who then got an ear full as to how to negotiate a windfall. This wee incident was all very light hearted and brought smiles to our faces!  

Yet another light hearted moment came soon after, as that same whistle blower stomped on a log only to have it break in two, leaving him in a rather precarious position. That soon brought uproarious laughter to our faces! 

Frivolities over, lunch was next on the program. This we had at the junction of the Mokaihaha track and a four wheel drive track. We then had to navigate this deeply rutted and puddled track which produced a few minor tumbles as we made our way back to South Road. The van had been expected to be there but was not, so we made our way along the road for about 1.5km to the junction of South and West roads where the vans had been left. We waited very leisurely for the other group to return to the vans (they had the keys).

All and all, it was a very pleasant and somewhat low key tramp that was not difficult - just perfect for the first tramp after lockdown. The casual atmosphere continued as we stopped for an ice cream at Tirau on the way home. Thank you to the leaders, Grant, Dianne and Keith for a lovely relaxing day out. 


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