Dec 11 1980

Swampy Ridge Track

This track serves as a link between the Flagstaff-Pineapple Walk and the Silverpeaks Route. It leads across the 739 m high Swampy Summit.

From the top of the Pineapple-Flagstaff Walk the walkway runs north along a 4WD track. It is obvious, unless the fog (a common occurrence) rolls in. On the 4WD track a vivid red soil can be seen at times – this is probably a baked volcanic ash, found near Dunedin and used as a pigment by the Maori. Takou is Maori name for red ochre. Hence the name Otakou (the place of red ochre) from which Otago derives its name.

The road leads to the buildings built by the Post office, Civil Aviation, and Otago University Physics Department. Following this road, the track passes the peat swamps that once trapped humans and moas alike; moa gizzard stones can be found here, but other animal remains seem to disappear in the acidic soil The track cuttings expose logs and stumps, evidence of the forest which once covered all these hills. Analysis of soils shows they are typical forest soils still capable of supporting trees now as before.

From Swampy Summit, the track follows the old Snowy Mountain track to a saddle between Hightop and Swampy, and on to link with the Silverpeaks Route.

Gleaned from  DoC hard-copy information sheet.

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