Tuesday, May 10, 2016

White Pine Trail, Pioneer Park, Raincliffs, Mackenzie Country

Sun 08.05.16. Near Fairlie, Mackenzie Country, off SH 79, 12 kms along Middle Valley Road, a bronze plaque on Pioneer Park's stone gatepost read:

              This park has been preserved for posterity
      primarily through the vision, generosity, and zeal of
                      Major P. H. Johnson of Raincliff
                               who has dedicated it
                         To foster love of the Country:
To the care and preservation of our native Birds and Trees:
              and as a grateful tribute and living memorial
                    to our Pioneer Men and Women: who
              leaving all they held dear in their Homeland
                        set forth with Faith and Courage
              and laid the foundation of this New Nation.

                           NON SIBI SED POSTERIS

More bronze plaques on the other gatepost and on stones around a high country stone praised other settlers.

Pioneer Park had a DOC campsite amongst exotic & native trees with a short walk to Burke's Cottage ruin. Burkes Pass en route to Lake Tekapo was named after settler Burke.

Leah & I did the longer White Pine Trail through native forest, filled with totara, kahikatea white pines & matai trees. Main understorey trees: kanuka, whitey wood, pittosporums, tree fuchsias...

We heard many bird calls, saw a NZ pigeon & inquisitive fantails. As White Pine Trail crossed a stream several times, the walk was slippery when approaching & crossing the stream.

On top of Pioneer Park hill boundary, exotic forestry mess left by loggers spoilt the walk - encroaching gorze, windrows of branches, dusty logging roads. It will be years before pioneer plants cover forestry mess again.

At the DOC campsite, a DOC sign said the 4.5 km, White Pine Trail would take 3.5 hours. As expected, DOC time was wrong. Leah & I weren't fast walkers, but did the White Pine Trail in 2 hours 50 minutes.

Content Copyright mark JS Esslemont.