Trip Reports, August-September 2015

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  1. Snowcraft Day > Rainbow Ski Area | Nelson Lakes NP
  2. Richmond Fire Lookout > Nelson
  3. Mt Fyffe Trig > Kaikoura Ranges
  4. Separation Point > Abel Tasman National Park
  5. Mt Arthur Hut > Kahurangi National Park
  6. Wainui Hut > Abel Tasman National Park

16 August 2015 – Snowcraft Day, Rainbow Ski Field
Nelson Lakes National Park | Leader: Pat Holland

Seventeen keen ones arrived at Rainbow in four vehicles. No chains needed—so far so good. Snow a bit thin on the tops but enough to play in.

It took a while to get everyone togged up and into crampons but by 10:30am off we headed up the valley towards the west basin.

The weather was overcast with a nippy southerly but looking stable (as it proved for the day). Some fit ones shot up over Mt McRae and on toward Peanter Peak. The rest played at self-arresting and getting used to crampons. Snow was really soft, so we headed through the first saddle.

We made the second saddle to the east of Mt McRae for lunch. Beautiful views into the lower Travers valley and across to the south end of Mt Robert ridge—a little shelter from the wind.

Then, on towards the third saddle through which is the route to Peanter. But 100m short, we met the others coming back. “Not enough time,” they said. So, we reversed our route back to the lunch saddle and then headed over Mt McRae.

On the summit (1878m) everybody admired the views across the skifield and Lake Rotoiti. An easy stroll to the west basin with some sliding (deliberate or unfortunate) then across the frozen tarn back to the carpark by 3:30pm. An excellent day in the mountains. Not much technical learning but some appreciation for which way is up.

Participants were: Pat Holland (scribe), Annette Le Cren, Tim Tyler, Simon Garton, Andrea Cockerton, Debbie Hogan, Chris Louth, Kelvin Drew, Ian Morris and Sue Henley (members); Adrian Douglas, Ben Ayre, Chris Tillie, Ian Wallace, John Taylor (GBTC), Penny Parker and Sophie Watson (visitors)

30 August 2015  – Richmond Fire Lookout, Nelson
Leader: Lawrie Halkett

Sunday morning dawned fine, but very misty.

A group of five hikers met at Lawrie’s place and proceeded up Jimmy Lee Creek. It is a lovely bush gully walk, starting with an interesting bird hide not far in off Hill Street.

The gully begins as regenerating scrub hardwoods, most of which Kate and Marie were able to identify, until the second section where Lawrie was able to point out Tawa and Matai. David, Kate and Marie started swapping jokes and one was obviously so funny that David lost his footing and took a dive downhill.

Not to be outdone, Marie threw some clothing down the hill and Lawrie courageously retrieved the item with some help from a sapling which unfortunately suffered terminal damage.

After striking out on a forestry road we continued upward to the fire lookout and stopped for a leisurely lunch. The view was excellent – a 360 degree panorama.

The day was very calm and sunny, with puffy clouds resting on the very tops of all the high points in both the Richmond and Kahurangi Ranges, though after midday, the offshore sea clouds rolled in across the Waimea Plains. A truly balmy day unfolded below us and it felt like we were witnessing the first day of spring.

We wandered back down off the tops, following Kate along a ridge leading to Reservoir Creek and the old dam, which once supplied drinking water to the village in the early 1900s.

Anyone interested in seeing Nelson’s tallest tree (Eucalyptus regans) need only walk five minutes uphill of the old dam.

Happy hikers included: Marie Lenting, Kate Krawczyk, David Cook, Ron Graham and Lawrie Halkett (leader and scribe).

5 September 2015 – Mount Fyffe, Kaikoura Ranges
Leader: Ray Salisbury

Wanting to give those new to snow travel an easy introduction to using crampons and ice-axes, I planned a couple of medium-level excursions into the Hills. Lack of interest cancelled the first trip, and I ran the second one with only three people, which is disappointing.

The rain pelted down on us as we departed the carpark at the foot of the mountain. But we pressed on with a determined stride, up, up, up the 4WD road which is steeper than I recall. [Time: 2.5 hrs]

Rain became snow as altitude was hard-won. Lucky for us, I carried dry kindling and got the woodfire in Fyffe Hut roaring. Three of us in a six-bunk hut was cosy, until at some ungodly hour when a trio of hunters barged inside.

On Saturday, one of the bloke’s cell phones woke us all up in the wee hours. I was not amused.

Our little group decided we weren’t fit enough for a full circuit of the mountain, and chose a leisurely walk up to the summit instead. Crampons were strapped to boots, and we meandered up the vehicle track to the trig in about an hour.

Lunch was wolfed down in the sunshine, then a hasty retreat was made, as the wind chill factor saw the temperature plummet. A steady stream of day-walkers made the pilgrimage all day, following our footprints in the snow.

Back at the hut, we read books, listened to podcasts, and generally gazed out to the ocean, far, far below.

During the afternoon, the local high schoolers appeared up the vertiginous Spaniard Spur track. Their over-enthusiastic teacher allowed them to ‘get lost’ on their very first ever tramp. Not amused, half of them rebelled and returned home. We hosted two remaining girls with their teachers.

On Sunday, we dropped back down the road, grateful for the improved weather. A number of pit-stops were made at various watering holes.

Climbers were: Ray Salisbury (scribe), David Cook and Marie-Anne Hermsen.

13 September 2015 - Separation Point, Abel Tasman NP
Leader: Chris Louth

A CLIMB IN RHYME - by Bruce Alley

At 7am sharp, our group of nine met

For a two hour drive to Wainui Inlet

Stopping at Takaka to collect number ten

That made five good keen ladies and five macho men


Out of the cars and off down the road

The packs on our backs seemed a very light load

Brian suggested straddling an electric  fence

But with a gate so close by, that didn’t make sense


On up a hill with hardly a bend

Some found it steep and unsure of its end

Then into some bush and the song of the tui

We headed on down to Totaranui


A pause on the beachfront for an elevenses snack

Then northwards along the Anapai Bay Track

From a nice patch of bush we dropped  down to the bay

A great place to dwell, but no time to stay


So we strolled along the golden sands of the beach

To find the track ahead was in easy reach

Next point of interest was the scenic Mutton Cove

A real beaut spot with the campsite in a grove


As we drew nearer to Separation Point

Six of us chose to check out the joint

Four obeyed the signpost instruction for “separation”

And headed down to Whariwharangi Hut for relaxation


Jacqui was experiencing a light-headed sensation

But soon revived after some serious rehydration

At ’The Point’ we looked for the gannet colony

But the pseudo mob were in the monopoly


Could it be that some live birds were asleep?

From the decoys though, there was not a peep!

Way in the distance was the spectre of Mt Egmont

Rising from the sea almost dead straight in front


On rejoining the others at Whariwharangi Bay

There were two options for the last part of the day

Four chose to continue safely along the Coast Track

The rest favoured the beach, a boulder-hopping attack


This route was adventurous, approached with much zeal

Until progress was slowed when meeting seal after seal

Eventually we were blocked by a rocky impasse

So we scaled up a steep cliff with scant tussock grass


On reaching the top with some nerves rather frayed

We looked down on the coast; our fears were allayed

With plenty of scrub and trees to grab hold

We proceeded with caution, grew more and more bold


At last back on the beach on familiar terrain

It’s true the old cliche re no pain, then no gain

As the boulders reduced and we saw the last seal

Sue walked uncomfortably close to a log that was real


It sleepily popped up its head from the beach

But by then Sue made sure she was well out of reach

On reaching the carpark the clock was on five

The others had just beaten us and were ready to drive


Back in Richmond by seven, our journey complete

The moment had come to go home and replete

‘twas a cracking good day of adventure and  stimulation

’twas time to disband, reaching the ‘point of separation.’

Participants, poets and ‘wouldn’t you know its’ were:

Kate Krawczyk, Sue Henley, Penny Parker, David Cook, Chris Louth (leader), Bruce Alley (poet), Brian Renwick (GBTC), and visitors Alison Wilson, Arif Matthee and Jacqui Bozoky.

20 September 2015 – Mount Arthur – Kahurangi NP
Leader: Lawrie Halkett

After a typical spring cold snap, with rain and snow on the preceding day, Sunday turned out fine, which set the tone for the day.

Two cars with eight on board met at the Badminton Hall, Richmond, but by the time we arrived at the Flora carpark our fleet had increased to three – Dion, daughter Keillyn and friend Silva joined the party.

The drive up was challenging for David in his mighty Corolla, as the road near the top was very sludgy with fresh fallen snow.

The scene was magic, blue sky, offset by white terra firma, plus one raucous kea to trumpet the start to our tramp. As we began walking and the temperatures rose, so the sky literally began falling on our heads! The heavily laden trees began to shed their loads on top of us unsuspecting hikers! All the way to Mt. Arthur Hut we were peppered by great dollops of snow.

It was truly a picture postcard walk, with one or other of our group of 11 constantly exclaiming isn’t that beautiful ... ‘click’ would go the camera.

A quick spell at the hut then we went on to the tops for a view of Mt Arthur, Gordon’s Pyramid, Mt. Peel, the Tableland, Lake Sylvester and Iron Hill.

Because of a very persistent, cold wind, we dropped off the northern side of the ridge for an early lunch and a hot drink. It was a bit of a challenge; finding a snow-free posse to sit, but once ensconced we all enjoyed each others company, ate our lunches and soaked up the splendid views.

Then it was back down the track to the carpark to head home. We stopped off in Upper Moutere for coffee, cake and ice creams.

The younger among our party – nine year olds Keilyn and Silva – did very well, coping with the slippery track.

The party included Dion Pont, Keilyn, Silva, Marie Lenting, Sophie Barclay (visitor), Jacqui Bozoky (visitor), Kaye Halkett, Heidi (visitor), Ken Lefever (visitor), David Cook (photographer), and Lawrie Halkett (scribe and leader).      

27 September 2015 – Wainui Hut circuit, Abel Tasman
Leaders: Kate Krawczyk & Sue Henley

It was a beautiful day to travel up to Canaan Downs and go for a walk in the Abel Tasman National Park. The Evans Ridge / Wainui Loop makes a great day walk exploring an area of the park that avoids the crowds of tourists and boaties. It’s about 15km long with a total climb of approximately 350 metres and takes around 5–6 hours at a leisurely pace.

We reached the Canaan carpark around 9am and carried on up to Wainui Saddle where the track branches to either go straight towards Moa park Shelter or left towards Wainui Hut. We carried on straight up the ridge with a bit of a grunty climb up onto Evans Ridge and the Inland Track. Instead of turning left to start the loop we detoured to Moa Park Shelter for a lovely morning tea break in the sunshine.

Back on-track, after morning tea, the birds were singing. We meandered along the lovely bush-clad ridge admiring the gnarly old Northern Rata trees until we reached the turnoff to Wainui Hut. From there we descended steeply off of the ridge into the Wainui River valley and onto the hut for lunch.

DOC has built a large aviary at Wainui Hut for their bird re-introduction programme as part of Project Janszoon. This trip was planned to have a surprise kaka interlude at Wainui Hut as the birds were to be waiting in the aviary for release in two weeks’ time but, unfortunately, the release into the aviary was postponed by a week, so as I am writing this, the birds will happily be sitting in their aviary up at Wainui Hut—never to be seen by the Nelson Tramping Club.

From Wainui Hut it was another hour and a half or so back to the car park via the farm tracks for a bit of different scenery and some new lambs.

Participants were: Pat Holland, David Cook, Penny Parker, Anya Schol, Anette LeCren, Marianne Hermsen, Sue Henley and Kate Krawczyk.


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