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Squires Bridge on Back Line Road                                                                                    Saturday 15th May

The hills were alive     

A party of 15 enthusiastic trampers set of for Squires Bridge on Back Line Road.  Parking alongside Silver Stream woolshed we climbed a gate on the west side of the road to follow a 4WD track, with several boot-top deep stream crossings, into the Hunter Hills on a fine clear day.  About 5km in we began climbing towards 1,006 m Mount Blyth.  Three hours of walking brought us onto a ridge with a view SW into the Hakataramea Valley.  Here we stopped for lunch, north of and still about 100 m below Mount Blyth summit.  Much of the surrounding country had not been extensively grazed recently except by wild game. Tussocks were up to a metre high.  After sitting for a while movements were noticed among the tussocks and we realised the hills were alive with deer and wallaby.

During the day we sighted at least ten wallaby and seven fallow deer, one of which had a particularly dark coat and stayed in view for several minutes before disappearing into thick bush which spread along the creek bed, across south-facing hillsides and up gullies.  There were many signs of wild pig and we were accompanied through bush and scrub by numerous pied fantails and one pure black one who came very close.  Tom-tits, hawks and paradise ducks were also seen.

Conflicting opinions on which ridge to descend and one members difficulties with the descent caused us to take longer than expected getting down. We also found wallaby tracks more difficult to follow than sheep’s as their makers have the ability to bound straight up or down steep slopes.  Arriving back at the road about 6pm left us just enough time to change out of wet boots before dark and head home from an interesting, enjoyable and sometimes challenging adventure.  Thanks to Colin and Judy for taking over this trip at short notice.

Neville  G.