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18 August 2012
A trip to Rameka in the winter months is always an interesting experience. Will the weather play ball? Will the sun hold out long enough for some track to be dug and plants to get in the ground or will wind, rain and hail confine us all to the shelter of the wee Lorax Lair?
The balance swung more in our favour when Andrew McLellan decided to make a mid-winter cycle trip across from Wellington. With this dogged powerhouse involved, we were fairly confident that all 600 seedlings would get in the ground regardless of the weather, and Andew lived up to our expectations.
Martin Langley, Matt Nalder and Tim from Christchurch had already festooned the slip area with flaxes donated by Tim Prebble just after the Christmas disaster.
Now, on the Saturday, together with Jonathan Kennett, Bronnie Wall, Phil, Albie, Paul Kilgour and a select group from the Golden Bay Tramping Club ensured that 250 trees and flax were snuggly in place. And the sun shone the whole time.
But the good weather would not last. On the Sunday, the team were joined by Murray Drake, Ginny Wood, and their friends Bill, Gill and son Louie, from Nelson, and a further 250 trees and flaxes found their way into new homes in the ground around the slip areas and the Lorax Lair. All this planting was completed under grey skies that soon turned to drizzle and then steady rain.
The only solace was that there was no wind. The sodden planters returned to the Lorax Lair for a late lunch and decided to leave the remaining 100 plants for another day. And fair enough.
Come Monday, the skies cleared once more, and Andrew led the charge (Jonathan knew he'd be good for at least 50 plants a day!)
With the plants safely in the ground, it was time tu turn the attentions to other matters. Now that Great Expectations had met ... all expectations, people were keen to see the more advanced track The Odyssey develop. Jonathan and Andrew headed out to continue sketching out the design Brent Hartshorne had initiated the year before.
The Odyssey would not only provide some serious fun for more technical mountain bikers, but more importantly, it would open up an area of the Project that had not yet been explored and allow Matt Shoult easier access for pest control. Fun and conservation as a package ... what a winning combination!
And while we might have suggested that Great Expectations was done and dusted, who can resist a little tidy-up every now and again? Jonathan and Bronnie spent a few quiet hours "massaging" a couple of the harder switchbacks to make them smoother and easier to cycle round.