Friday, 28 December 2007
Mt McKerrow (706 m), in the Rimutaka Forest Park, is named after James McKerrow, Surveyor General of New Zealand. I was told by an Uncle, Robert Thomas McKerrow, that when James McKerrow was Surveyor General in Wellington, he could see this the unnamed peak out his office window on a fine day. In the winter he used to admire its snow capped peak.A budding young surveyor, trying to curry favour with his mentor and boss, named the peak after him.
A DOC guide book gives thisd information about the peak.
It is not your typical maunga (mountain). You know you've scaled its peak when the uphill slog along a ridge in the Orongorongo Valley becomes a descent. Trees obscure the views at the top, but there are panoramic peeks of Wainuiomata and the Hutt Valley at vantage points en route.
You can start the trip to Mt McKerrow from Wainuiomata or the Catchpool Valley in the Rimutaka Forest Park. From Hine Road and the end of Sunny Grove in Wainuiomata you can reach the Whakanui Track. At the top of the hill turn right at the signpost to follow the ridge south along the eastern side of the Wainuiomata Valley until you reach the top.
Just below the summit the track splits and you can go right to follow the Clay Ridge/Old Five Mile Track down to the Catchpool car park. (This trip takes around six hours to complete.) Or you can turn left and descend, coming out on the Orongorongo Valley Track to the car park. (This option will add about an hour to your tramp.)
From the Catchpool car park end of the track you'll venture through regenerating podocarp hardwood scrub before encountering gnarly old podocarp hardwood and black and hard beech trees.
You pass through an area of windthrow — from where you get spectacular views of Wellington on a fine day — before reaching the summit and its cloak of silver beech.