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Trip Report - Puffer Track perambulations, Kaitoke

Trip Report – 5 November 2011:   Puffer Track perambulations, Kaitoke

Pseudopanax colensoi
Pseudopanax colensoi.   Illustration: Eleanor Burton.
The trip up the Puffer Track attracted 25 people including several non-BotSoccers.   Only 15 notified their intention to come.   The weather was fine, but a cold southerly kept the temperature well down, aided by a brief hailstorm near the end of the trip.

The name of the track made some people apprehensive about its gradient, but they were relieved to find the original track to which the name was applied has been replaced by a gentle incline.

The track starts at the carpark, a crowded and muddy place.   A Southern Crossing run began as we arrived.   The initial part of the track is bounded by some native scrub, and much gorse.   Pine trees in the area, including ones at the top of the track down to Kiwi Ranch, have been felled and removed.   Small lodgepole pines (Pinus contorta) noted on the survey should be removed.

The track sidles around spurs gradually rising towards the saddle, before descending to Smith Creek.   It passes through a variety of habitats from exposed, stunted scrub with somewhat bare banks, to gullies, and mature beech forest.   The list prepared for the trip was augmented by some notable additions including Pseudopanax colensoi, Hymenophyllum pulcherrimum, Craspedia minor, Drosera binata and an unusual pink-coloured Thelymitra formosa.   It was too early for many orchid species to appear, but Pterostylis graminea was in full flower, as were the only two specimens of P. banksii.   Of interest as to how they came to be present in the area were an isolated renga lily (Arthropodium cirratum), seedlings of quintinia (Quintinia serrata) and juvenile kowhai (Sophora chathamica).   Not far up the Dobson Hut track, Brachyglottis kirkii was in flower, but unfortunately it was spotted only on the return trip by the tailenders.

Snow damage was still obvious, with fallen branches and flattened ferns and sedges, but the vegetation had recovered remarkably well since the reconnaissance trip six weeks earlier.   Browse damage on Coprosma lucida and other species was also noted.

Tony Fluerty has posted some of the photos he took on the trip at:
Tony Fluerty, 04 526 2171, Boney Whitefoot Photography,,

Participants :   Bev Abbott, Ros Batchelor, Helen Bichan, Barbara Clark, Gavin Dench, Barry Dent, Jess Dodds, Pat Enright (leader / scribe), Sue Freitag, Tony Fluerty, Kathleen Gavigan, Clive Hellyer, Chris Hopkins, Chris Horne, Olaf John, Sook Lee, Pat McLean, Barbara Mitcalfe, Chris Moore, Hannah Moore, Mick Parsons, Darea Sherratt, Sunita Singh, Jean-Claude Stahl, Emma Tate.

Quintinia serrata
Quintinia serrata.   Photo: Sunita Singh.
Alseuosmia pusilla
Strongly scented flowers of an Alseuosmia pusilla were a feature along the track.   Photo: Jeremy Rolfe.


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