It was a nice drive into Pohangina Valley on this fresh sunny autumn day. When we got out of the cars at the Pettifar/Gilchrist carpark, the immediate abundant birdsong was a lovely welcome: Tui, bellbird, fantail, robin and tomtit. That noisy flock of rosellas was still hanging around too. As we followed the Pettifar Track, we could also hear the distinctive flight of the kereru above in the caopy. The first section was a bit narrow and muddy because of a flood two years ago and from the recent rainfalls. After another km in dense bush, identifying some fern species and other plants as we went, we came out to the cliff edge of the Pohangina River. From here there were lots of scenic lookouts and giant totara on the track along the bank. The trees carried beautiful astelias, and the ones that had dropped seemed to establish on the ground just as well. After passing through the historic poplar nursery, the track came out at the river bank again. Here, we found a slippery path through the willow belt down to the river, where everyone sat down on a log for lunch. What a nice spot! As a section of the Gilchrist Track had been swept away by a recent flood, we decided to make our way back out to the carpark directly via the Old Coach Road. And then, just as we were ready to drive home...it started raining!