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Above: Anne, Daniel and Glenda on the trail toward Loktow Road.
Photo by J. Love
The other four, Glenda, Anne, Janice and Daniel, opted to go towards the Lotkow Road end and then down the Donald River which flows southeast eventually reaching the Tutaekuri River.
After we walked down the steep metal Lawrence Road, there was the dramatic swing bridge crossing the Tutaekuri River. After crossing the bridge, you take the track upwards towards the Mackintosh Track which drops steeply at first and then steadily to the Donald River.
“Follow the Donald River downstream for an hour, to where it joins the Tutaekuri River, about five minutes upriver from the Lawrence swing bridge. The walk along the Donald River is unmarked, but access along manuka terraces is not difficult.”
The wind was raging on the ridges as we started but it always seemed to be above us especially when we were walking along the river.
Glenda was right, it was a great day to be criss-crossing the Donald which we did over 15 times. Spotting the first of many inviting deep pools, it was in ‘boots and all’ drifting down the current back to the start and drifting down again. What a refreshing way to beat the heat.
It was hard to keep Glenda out of any of the pools after that, and you had to admit it was a great way to cool down especially before the long drag back up to the cars at the Lawrence Road end. The crystal clear, fastflowing water did the trick for any ailments.
Coming across a small eddy, we saw a tadpole convention in the shallow water. Amongst the teeming tadpoles were a few small green frogs on the fringe and cameras were whipped out to record the moment.
The sides of the canyons were covered in plants as they soared straight up to the tree-line. At the Donald/Tutaekuri River junction, we travelled up river to see if we could spot Colin and Peter trying to prove they were just as quick as last time they did this trip 30 years
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