28 December 2011
After a great pre-Christmas track opening and plant releasing stint, Jonathan and Bronnie left the Project buzzing and headed back to Wellington for a relaxing Christmas. Desolate at their departure, the rain began to fall … and fall … and fall.
The Rameka valley was one of the worst affected areas. A slip developed on the land above the main road heading through the Project. It rolled over the road and down into what had become known as “kahikatea gully” and there it gained momentum.
Kahikatea gully had been well planted out with a huge variety of trees, not least being a number of kahikatea, which had thrived in the narrow cool glutch at the base of the gully. The “midpoint” exit from Great Expectations crossed the gully and popped out onto the road just to the downward side. The slip took out this exit point and the majority of the plantings. It continued its downward trajectory, gaining momentum as it flowed.
What had been a fairly innocuous random stream – sometimes flowing, sometimes disappearing underground, was now a deep gouge all the way down to the Rameka Creek. Grey, clogging silt smothered everything. Random snippets of green plastic plant guard and bamboo plant markers poked out at different points along the way.
Further down valley, the tracks One Click and Two Click were basically annihilated. Disheartening.
But not for long! Within days, people were eager to be back on their bikes and were talking of ways to repair the tracks.