Nov 13 2013

Double Hill Road, Hightop, Swampy

Published by under Trampers

13/11/2013. Mountain Road Entrance. Sleepy Hollow, Hightop track, ret. Leaders: Judy, Ian, Bev.

Where to start? Well, a map would be good.

Hightop Map

Hightop Map

Then, a recce, before we go any further. Ian wasn’t a likely starter because of problems at home, so Judy recruited Bev, but in the event Ian was able to come, but the recce had to be fitted in at the last moment.

We entered in at the Mountain Road entrance and made our way up to the first junction with the top track on the map that runs roughly parallel to Semple/Mountain Road. Only a short way in and solid gorse blocked the track. But a short loop down to the left and back up again recovered the track, much more open. Up and over the top to the fence line and here our troubles started. Snow fellings of the scrubby manuka from that heavy winter snow-fall plus the gorse made for much ‘bush-bashing’. Still hopeful of getting to the next junction we pushed on. But no. Time was passing, so back out again and on to the Sleepy Hollow junction.

This was well-cleared, but we had lost quite some time by now. We lunched on the way and nursed our gorse-pricked legs.

Gorse-pricked legs.

Gorse-ravaged legs.

We pushed on to the Swampy Track junction, also well-cleared, where a majority decision was taken to turn back, with the Swampy route to be the one taken. So we didn’t explore the less inviting Hightop one to the left. Time was running out.

Now to the tramp. All went well till we came to the Swampy Track junction. Ian had still wished to have at least a wee look at the Hightop track to the left, so general consent was given and he and several others set off it, only to find it was nicely cleared and seductively inviting over a clear rise. So much so, that he phoned back to Judy an invitation for the remainder to follow. But several didn’t wish to come, asserting the Swampy track was the one that had been planned. On the other hand, Ian and the others with him we so reluctant to give in that a grudging assent from the nay-sayers was won and the two groups were reunited. The cleared track led us out onto Semple Road but we could find no sign of the emergence of the bush-bashed track anywhere.

Anyway, we lunched back up at the DoC sign indicating Silver Peaks Conservation Area that we had passed earlier before retracing our steps back to the cars. But Ian still doubtless remains unforgiven for his ‘splitting the group’ and adopting a cavalier ‘Trampers’ attitude. His phone call did put fellow-leaders Judy and Bev, who had both remained behind, in an invidious position.

So, we had made it 3/4 of the way around Hightop but the last side still awaits a good track-clearing day. 21 Hikers out on the day. A good overcast tramping morning, getting quite hot in the afternoon. – Ian.








16/9/1992. Hightop, Swampy. Start Double Hill Road. Average. Leaders: George, Doug M, Penny & Peter

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