Mar 02 2016

Track Clearers

Published by under Track-clearing and tagged:

15. 2/3/2016.  Smithys.

Today, 4 of us started on clearing Smithys track. We went in across the new bridge installed by Neil, that crosses the very wet smelly red muck at the Rollinsons Road end of the track. We estimate that we got about 3/4 of the way through, before it was time to retrace our steps back to the cars.
We are not sure if we will have enough fuel to finish this work, so unless somebody comes up with a couple of litres of fuel, that is as far as we are going. I have about one litre left, & I’m not sure if that would be enough to get to the end of the track. – Ken

14. 11/1/2016 Swamp grass cleared from tracks in Lake Whare environs.

On Monday, 3 trampers met at 9am & went into the Rollinsons Rd area to do some more track clearing.
We started by clearing the bottom piece of Swine Spur, of the waist high swamp grass, then we cleared the whole distance around the Lake Whare Loop track [more waist high swamp grass] & the short lower piece of the track leading from the Lake Whare Loop up to Smithys Track.
As it was still only about 3pm, we decided to also clear a way through the long grass from Rollinsons Rd. to the bush edge of Smithys Track.
I have tried to contact the Green Hut track leader [ & left a message on his phone] to ask if they could put some sort of a bridge over the smelly boggy bit just off the road.
Cheers
Ken

13. 6/1/2016 Possum Busters cleared end to end.

After a marathon effort, we finally got Possum Busters track cleared all the way through from road-to-road. This has taken 4 & a bit days of work to complete, & it still would not be finished if it were not for the helping hand of Dick from the Green Hut Track Group, with another scrub bar.
We had 8 people turn up this morning to help out, & it worked out very well with the different activities of the day.

Arthur walked all the way through with a chainsaw, accompanied by Keith, tidying up the few remaining trees blocking, or partially blocking the track, while Ian & Dick walked through to where we had finished off last time, & then started to work back towards Neil, Eric, Steve, & myself.

I would like to thank everybody for their work, it was a relief to get it finished.

However — we are not finished with track clearing yet, & our next effort will be on Monday next, meeting at the same place at 9am. We will be clearing the bottom end of Swine Spur, through all that very long swamp grass [cutty grass] along to where the track enters the bush.

HNY
Ken

12. 29/12/2015.

Yesterday [Tuesday 29th] 3 trampers went into Possum Busters track from the Rollinsons Road end with two scrub bars, & loppers/hedge clippers.
We have cleared all the way up to & beyond the junction with Swine Spur track. This was very hard work, because of the two steep gullies we had to get in & out of carrying all the gear, & clearing as we went.
We estimate that we have at least another day’s work to finish the full track length, from the Whare Flat -Flagstaff Rd. through to Rollinsons Rd.

The same 3 trampers turned up at the car park this morning, where we decided to have a look at signs on the Tunnels Track, [ or lack of signs] on the three tracks leading back down to the Silverstream.
The Green Hut Group have asked us to do this, & put in signs where necessary.

We will probably look at doing some more work on Possum Busters Track before next Wednesday sometime, weather permitting. So if anybody can lend a hand, that would be most helpful. I will send out an email stating the day/time/meeting place, when we decide to do this.
We will be going in from the Whare Flat – Flagstaff Road end this time, as although it’s longer, it’s much easier going when carrying scrub bars etc. – Ken

11. 30/11/2015.

4 of us went into the Whare Flat area today to put in some signs. We put 6 in around there, & then went up the firebreak track from the bullring, & put one at the top end of the Big Rock track as well. We then went down this track to see if we could find the lower part that goes down to the road, but we couldn’t find it. So we may try to come in from the bottom at the road end, & see how that goes. This track is NOT recommended, it is badly overgrown, & very hard to find your way. It also has some difficult parts, including clambering over boulders etc.
Somebody has been in there recently, & cut down some of the pines that are growing up near the top end above Big Rock.

Here are the pics of them except one which I forgot to photograph.

At junction of Smithies & Lake Whare loop (Ken pic and caption)

At junction of Smithies & Lake Whare loop (Ken pic and caption)

Junction of Swine Spur & track leading to Smithies (Ken pic and caption)

Junction of Swine Spur & track leading to Smithies (Ken pic and caption)

Top end of Lake Whare track (Ken pic and caption)

Top end of Lake Whare track (Ken pic and caption)

Top of Big Rock track (Ken pic and caption)

Top of Big Rock track (Ken pic and caption)

We are nearly finished with signs in that area now, maybe only two or three left to do. But the tracks badly need clearing AGAIN !! Time to get the scrub bar working again. – Ken

10. 6/5/2015

On Wednesday, Arthur, Eric, Dermot, & Ken met up at the end of Silverstream Rd. at 9am & went back into Whare Flat area to finish clearing Smithys track. We went in from Possum Busters on the Whare Flat-Flagstaff Rd. & made our way around to the junction with Smithys, where we started clearing, back towards where we finished on Monday. This was by far the worst end of the track, with many places that badly needed cleared of grass/lawyer vine/honeysuckle/broadleaf etc. etc. 
So it was a big day, & I didn’t think we were going to get to the end, but eventually we did get right through, much to everybodys relief. Then it was a bit of a struggle to get back to the car, after expending most of our energy during the day. The weather was good, although it did worry us a little at lunch time with a few spots of rain. However that soon cleared, & then the sun came out for a great afternoon.
The scrub bar used approx 4litres of fuel for the day, which is not bad considering it runs almost flat out for much of the time.
I arrived home at about 4:30pm, with a couple of blisters, & feeling VERY tired, but happy that we got the job done. – Ken.

9. 4/5/2015

Neil, Arthur, Bruce, & I went out on Monday into the Lake Whare area to do some more track work. We started by clearing long grass from the bottom end of an unnamed track, which drops down from Smithys track & joins up with the Lake Whare Loop track. 
Two of the group went into the bottom part of the Loop track, & us two made our way around from the top end, clearing as we went until we met up by the Lake. We then cleared the track going off to Smithys track [signpost says “to Jim Freeman”], & once we had done that, we then started on Smithys Track. We got a long way through here, but we still have the worst end to do, & estimate another 3hrs work before we finish it.
We were all pleased with the progress made, & commented how much faster it would be if we had two scrub bars to work with. 
I arrived home just after 4pm, feeling rather tired but happy with the day. – Ken

8. 1/4/2015.

April 1st saw two of the trampers out track clearing again. We finished clearing the bottom end of Swine Spur track.

 

1 Swine Spur track, before clearing. (Ken pic)

1 Swine Spur track, before clearing. (Ken pic)

2 Swine Spur track after clearing. (Ken pic)

2 Swine Spur track after clearing. (Ken pic)

3 Swine Spur, note the track marker we added. (Ken pic)

3 Swine Spur, note the track marker we added. (Ken pic)

Then went & cleared the way through the long grass on the top end of the Whare Lake Loop track, past the old stone ruins. After this we retraced our steps back to Rollinsons Rd. & drove down to the bottom exit for the Loop track, where we cleared about 50-70mtrs. of track until it entered the bush.

4 Clearing the top end of the Whare Lake Loop track. (Ken pic)

4 Clearing the top end of the Whare Lake Loop track. (Ken pic)

5 Whare Lake Loop track before clearing. (Ken pic)

5 Whare Lake Loop track before clearing. (Ken pic)

6 Whare lake Loop track after clearing. (Ken pic)

6 Whare lake Loop track after clearing. (Ken pic)

We then drove down to the start of the Tunnels Track, & cleared the entrance to this as well. We also hung some new track markers in appropriate places on Swine Spur, & the Loop Tracks. All this took about 5 hours of toil. You want to try clearing a path through shoulder high grass, & carrying the scrub bar for 5 hours !! Any volunteers from the hikers for the next piece to be done, which is from point 8 on page 5.08 in A. Hamels book, to where the track up through the bush starts on the short, but steep track [un-named] leading up to the junction with Smithy’s Track ?? – Ken.

7. 4/3/2015

We had a very successful day today, 6 trampers arrived at the end of Silverstream Rd. to help with the days track clearing effort. We motored up to Rollinsons Rd. where two members set off with chainsaws to make a path around a large tree that was across the Lake Whare loop track. The rest carried on a bit further to the end of the Swine Spur track, where we unloaded the scrub cutter, fuel, tools, etc. for the attempt at clearing a way through the waist high swamp grass along the lower part of the track.
Two carried another sign into Smithies Track, & put it in to point the correct way at what appears [wrongly] to be a track junction.
Later on, three members armed with hedge clippers & loppers went up to the start of Jim Freeman track on the Flagstaff – Whare Flat Rd. to clear the first part of that track, which had gotten badly overgrown.
The scrub cutter works extremely well with it’s new blade, & we made good progress up until lunchtime, when I decided to turn the blade over to get a new cutting edge, & lost a washer that holds the blade on, so the nut wouldn’t tighten up, & the blade just spun around inside it’s clamp. So we had lunch, looked for the washer unsuccessfully , & decided to call it a day.
We still have some distance to go to get through this swamp grass, but another mornings work should see it done. – Ken

6. 8/2/2015. Swine Spur grass clearing.

Today, Ian Hebbard & I went & tried out the scrub bar on the start of Swine Spur track. Went thru 2 tanks of fuel to get to the junction with the track going across the small log bridge around to Lake Whare, & found that the blade they gave us is useless. So I’m going to find out what a proper grass blade is worth & see if the club will come to the party. We used another tool head that came with it, & it works quite well…

Start of Swine Spur track. (Ken pic and caption)

1. Start of Swine Spur track. (Ken pic and caption)

showing clearing work on Swine Spur track. (Ken pic and caption)

2. Showing clearing work on Swine Spur track. (Ken pic and caption)

3. More clearing. (Ken pic and caption)

3. More clearing. (Ken pic and caption)

4. Cleared up to junction of Swine Spur & Lake Whare tracks. (Ken pic and caption)

4. Cleared up to junction of Swine Spur & Lake Whare tracks. (Ken pic and caption)

…but as soon as it gets into heavy going, or strikes a branch hidden in the long grass, it breaks the heavy duty nylon & then I have to replace it, so that could get expensive. This tool head is quite unusual, in that it’s very small, & takes straight lengths of very strong ‘ nylon wire’ [not my words, that’s what the makers are calling it] about 25cm-30 long, & they go through the tool head from one side, & stick out the other side by an equal amount. It can take two of these lengths at right angles to each other, but that would be too much for this machine in long grass.
It’s going to be a long hard slog to get the whole bottom end of Swine Spur clear of all that long swamp grass, I might try a scythe, & see how that goes!!!

We also put in another sign at the start of the Tunnel Track…

5. New sign at start of Tunnels track, about 30mtrs from road. (Ken pic and caption)

5. New sign at start of Tunnels track, about 30mtrs from road. (Ken pic and caption)

…about 30mtrs in from the road, & before you get to the creek crossing. – Ken.

5. 17/12/2014. Today we put in new signs…

…at the top of Swine Spur/…

 Top of Swine Spur (Ken pic and caption)

1 top of Swine Spur (Ken pic and caption)

…Porkies/…

Top of Porkies (Ken pic and caption)

2 top of Porkies (Ken pic and caption)

…Moon…

3 top of Moon (Ken pic and caption)

3 top of Moon (Ken pic and caption)

4 close up of Moon sign (Ken pic and caption)

4 close up of Moon sign (Ken pic and caption)

…& McQuilkans…

 

5 top of Mc Quilkans (Ken pic and caption)

5 top of Mc Quilkans (Ken pic and caption)

6 close up of McQuilkans sign (Ken pic and caption)

6 close up of McQuilkans sign (Ken pic and caption)

…tracks. We reinstated the DCC sign at the locked gate on Rollinsons Rd. & put in two signs on Smithies track, at two junctions, to point the correct direction to follow Smithies.
We used a 4WD vehicle, & a 4 wheeler quad bike with trailer…

7 our mode of transport (Ken pic and caption)

7 our mode of transport (Ken pic and caption)

…to transport us & equipment along the Swampy ridge track to the tops of the 4 tracks that emerge onto there.
We then went back down Rollinsons Rd. picked up the sign that should be at the locked gate, & proceeded to reinstate it…

8 reinstalling the DCC sign at the locked gate (Ken pic and caption)

8 reinstalling the DCC sign at the locked gate (Ken pic and caption)

…in it’s original position.
Then it was into Smithies track carrying two signs to be installed at junctions,…

9 one of the two Smithies signs (Ken pic and caption)

9 one of the two Smithies signs (Ken pic and caption)

…where it was not obvious which way to go. – Ken.

4. 24/11/2014. Track signs.

A good group of 6 gathered at the end of Silverstream valley Rd. this afternoon to help carry a couple of signs, & equipment,  in to the junction of Possum Busters Track & Porkies Track.
After deciding where the signs were to be placed some holes were dug, & it was here that one group member showed such a dab hand with the spade …

(Ken pic)

Uncaptioned. (Ken pic)

… that nobody else wanted to have a go with it!! After assembling the signs & lowering them into their holes, we rammed all the clay we could find …

(Ken pic)

Uncaptioned. (Ken pic)

… back into the holes, & when we had finished, some photos …

(Ken pic)

Uncaptioned. (Ken pic)

(Ken pic)

Uncaptioned. (Ken pic)

(Ken pic)

Uncaptioned. (Ken pic)

… were taken while we were congratulating ourselves on a job well done. – Ken.

… yesterday [i.e. 5/11/2014, Ed], 4 of us went & put some new signs in on Possum Busters, & Smithy’s tracks. – Ken.

At start of Smithy's on Rollinsons Rd. (Ken caption)

At start of Smithy’s on Rollinsons Rd. (Ken caption)

At start of Smithy's on Rollinsons Rd. (Ken caption)

At start of Smithy’s on Rollinsons Rd. (Ken caption)

At junction of Possum Busters & Swine Spur. (Ken caption)

At junction of Possum Busters & Swine Spur. (Ken caption)

At start of Possum Busters on Rollinsons Rd. (Ken caption)

At start of Possum Busters on Rollinsons Rd. (Ken caption)

3. 12/9/2014. Track Clearing. Possum Busters from Top.
We struggled up the Possum Busters track from Rollinsons Rd. & managed to lose two of our group. We didn’t notice they were missing until we got back to the Swine Spur/Possum Busters junction for lunch. We thought they were diligently trimming back some trackside growth somewhere behind us ! It transpired that they took a wrong turn about 100 yds.  from the junction where we had lunch, & ended up going down the bottom part of Swine Spur all the way out to the road. Of course they then realised their mistake, & retraced their steps. We found them when two of us went down the Swine Spur to see if we could find the track, as last time we tried, it disappeared, & we couldn’t find where it went. I’m happy to say that the track has been cleared, & we found the lost duo, just as they finished their lunch, about 200mtrs. from the lunch junction. Another member of our party went all the way out to the road on Possum Busters to try & find them, so he retraced his steps, & we met up with him shortly after we started heading out after lunch.
As for the track clearing effort, we discovered that we were only about 25mtrs. short of getting all the way through last time when we came in from Jim Freeman track.  It was a bit of a surprise to find that we only had about 1/2 an hour of clearing to do. So Possum Busters is now open for traffic, but still needs some tidying, which the Green Hut Track Group tells me they will do this when we cut a way through all the windfall trees.
On the way out, two of us stopped off at the pump-house car park, & went along the Silverstream track with chainsaws, to clear a way past some fallen trees that were making it difficult to walk the first part of this track. So it’s now possible to walk along here without having to duck under, or climb over any obstacles.
We also had a look at Leishmans track, where DOC have been trying to cut their way through windfall material. This is negotiable for quite some distance, but we didn’t go all the way, so there could still be some blockage further in. The track is steep in places, & the creek crossings are VERY slippery. – Ken]
2. 29/8/2014. Possum Busters track clearing day.
Today, 6 members of the club turned up for a track clearing day on Possum Busters track, which has been blocked since the last years big snow fall. We had two chainsaws working, & some others with loppers etc. & some shifting the cut vegetation from the track as we progressed along it. We achieved a good distance [estimate about 1km] with approx. 4 hrs work, & we think we are getting close to the other end of the blockage.
The damage in there has to be seen to understand what it’s really like, & many thanks to the Green Hut track group, who found the way through this jungle of fallen trees etc. & marked it so it can be followed again.
This track would make a good walk for the hikers in the future I think, although there are a few creek crossings to negotiate.
So a very grateful thanks to those that turned up & worked so hard during the day. Cheers – Ken]
1. 7/8/2013. Trampers. Schoolhouse, Tunnels, McRaes Weir, return.
At the request of the DCC, 4 trampers armed themselves with some tools, & arrived at the tunnels track ready to do some track clearing. The first obstacle was located within 300 mtrs of the starting point, up the road & just across the stream from the schoolhouse. This was one of many blockages that we had found when we did a tramp along here 2 weeks before.
We managed to get all the way along to the old racemans hut, & the stream crossing just beyond that, clearing all of the smaller stuff out of the way, so that the DCC guys, or The Green Hut Track Group could come in with chainsaws, & remove all the large trees across the track.
It was obvious that the DCC Task force Green guys had been along the last part of the track towards the old racemans hut, as there wasn’t much for us to do along that stretch, but we still did a good days work, & I think there would’ve been some tired bodies that evening.
We may look at continuing with this work at a later date, but I have sent an email to Graeme of the Green Hut Track Group, so he can keep me up to date on what still needs doing. – Ken.

2 responses so far




2 Responses to “Track Clearers”

  1.   Beverley Harveyon 20 Dec 2014 at 1:59 pm

    Think a very big “thank you” is owed to those members of the club who have done such a great job of the track clearing and the VERY well made new signs they have installed. I am sure it will be much appreciated not only by our club but many others who enjoy the tramps on these tracks. Certainly those of us that did the tramp/hike on 3rd Dec. did. Thanks guys.

  2.   Ken McVieon 20 Dec 2014 at 5:21 pm

    Thanks must also go to the Green Hut Track Group, & others for the tremendous amount of work that has been done in that area alone.
    Not forgetting that they also look after the Silverpeaks tracks, & the Silverstream ones as well.
    My thanks go out to them all.

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