An Unexpected Bonus
Many farms in our district also incorporate areas of production forests, mostly smaller blocks of Radiate Pine trees. When these trees are harvested, generally at around to 25 to 30 years of age, there can be quite a lot of disruption to farming operations – and also in some cases, adventure tourism operations.
We are presently experiencing this disruption ourselves.
When water levels on the Rangitikei River allow us to be in duckies (inflatable kayaks), we welcome this opportunity. Duckies are fun! Part of the allure of the trip has always been the four-wheel-drive track into the start point. The track we normally use is very scenic, has great views, and is most definitely dry weather only.
Unfortunately, the track also winds its way through a block of Radiata pine trees that are currently being harvested. What this means is that the last thing the logging crew want is a bunch of vehicles, river guides and adventure seekers mixed in with their roaring chainsaws and heavy machinery.
As river flows kept dropping and the likelihood of a duckie season kept increasing, trying to resolve this situation lead to quite a bit of head-scratching.
Considered was helicoptering everybody in each day, (this had to be shelved as being both too expensive, and the helicopter operator telling us that a machine would not always be available), or finding a different route into an alternative start point (put on).
In a chance conservation with the farmer who owns the land that we drive over for this trip, he recommended that we explore another track in, which while being even less suitable if there were any rain, would still be a good workable option.
We have taken him up on this and looked at two different options. One we discarded as being just too steep and rough, but the other is what we are presently using.
This is where the unexpected bonus comes in.
The unexpected bonus is the views on the way. The track we would normally use has great views, but this alternative route has some of the most stunning scenery you are ever likely to see, taking in as it does, the Ruahine Ranges, the mountain Aorangi and the hill country of Pukeokahu District.
These views are so absolutely stunning that it makes me wonder whether they should be the purpose of the trip, and the time on the river is the bonus?