One tough trip

The Code Red storm made just getting to Rameka a challenge. Roads were closed, flights were cancelled, and the ground floor of the bach we had booked was flooded.

To get to Rameka, we had to walk 5 km each way, and on the first day, we saw the extent of the damage. One huge slip had taken out four bridges, closing Great Expectations and washing hundreds of trees away. Another slip had closed The Odyssey.

Huge slip across a road through poplar trees.
The most visible slip, and the one that blocked the road for us and the locals

Last Sunday, we held a work party, but it was really hard to know what to do. The damage to Great Expectations was so severe, with a new gulch having been formed, and a muddy sludge dumped along the sides. At least the historic Rameka Track was in remarkably good condition.

Six men clearing debris from a slip down a stream
The hardy group of locals trying their best to salvage a stream crossing devastated by the slip

It wasn’t until the third day that our fortunes turned and spirits began to lift. We carried 200 trees up and planted them in fine weather. On the same day, Ricky Ward managed, somehow, to drive another 800 trees up to the project via a private farm track. We were making real progress.

Four people digging holes for trees in bracken
The bracken of today will be a forest in 20 years!

We kept chipping away, planting one or two hundred trees a day. And Fulton Hogan were also busy repairing the road. Finally, on our last day (Saturday) the road was open, and just in time for our final big work party.

Twenty-two people turned up and the last 450 out of 1,000 trees were planted and guarded. A big thanks to Alison, Grant, Bob, Chris, Suzy, Mike, Andrew, Bevan, Duncan (Mountford) Glenda, Mark, Maryann, Will and Kerry.

People planting trees on a steep hillside
A sunny Saturday for planting the final 450. Hoorah!

Also a special thanks to Paul Kilgour who put heaps of effort into planting and guarding trees over the week, even staying at Rameka two nights.

And most of all, the crew who took a week off work and returned home, tired, fit and happy today: Nicola and Richard, Geoff, Justine and Duncan and Bronnie and Jonathan.

Six tree planters smiling on a track.
It was all smiles once we got cracking!

One of the observations Jonathan had at the end of the week was this. By restoring the land over time, the land has begun restoring us.

Three people standing/sitting at a lookout.
Gathering our breathes at Martin’s lookout.

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