Trip Reports, December-February 2016

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  1. Cloustons Mine >Flora & Mt Arthur | Kahurangi NP
  2. Trig K - Pelorus Bridge >Marlborough
  3. Abel Tasman Walk & Sail > Abel Tasman NP
  4. Heartbreak Ridge > Mt Richmond FP
  5. South Side of Mount Owen | Kahurangi NP
  6. Captains Creek Hut | Mt Richmond FP
  7. Kahurangi Point | Kahurangi NP
  8. Sharlands Creek to Marybank | Nelson
  9. Mount Robert | Nelson Lakes NP
  10. Editor Hill & the Snail Trail | Marlborough Sounds

 6 December 2015 – Cloustons Mine / Gordons Pyramid | Kahurangi NP
Leader: Pat Holland

Our party of five left Nelson earlyish, but with some trepidation as the weather forecast was dubious. At Flora Saddle, it was quite windy and cloudy. However, by the time we got to Flora Hut there were small patches of blue sky and we did not need our parkas. We admired the results of the club’s hut restoration efforts (to be be finished this autumn), before following teh Flora Track, then climbing up the Grid Iron track.

The track up to Cloustons Mine was in good order, sheltered from the wind. The forest was delightful with all the greens very bright after recent rain. The sky cleared for us as we stopped for lunch at the bushline just above the mine. Then we marched on up to the summit of Gordons Pyramid (1489m). The wind had subsided to a breeze and the views were glorious across to the Tableland and beyond.

The descent of the ridge track into Horseshoe Basin was uneventful with the karst and some flowers glowing in the fresh sunshine. And, so we continued on up to meet the Mount Arthur track, and followed this down to Mt Arthur Hut, where there  were several groups enjoying the day.

Back at the car at Flora Saddle, (7 hours) we congratulated ourselves on a very enjoyable outing that showed weather forecasts should be treated with scepticism, if not disdain.

Walkers were: Pat Holland (scribe), Kate Krawcyzk, Annette Le Cren, David Cook & Kelvin Drew.

13 December 2015 | Trig K / Pelorus Bridge | Marlborough
Leader: Marie Lenting

On a beautiful day early in December, nine members enjoyed a great day at Pelorus Bridge where we walked the 6km loop track from the cafe to Trig K (390m).

The track follows an easy nature walk before entering a native forest hill climb through podocarp, broadleaf and beech, stopping along the way for refreshments and views over the surrounding valleys.  Reaching our destination sooner than we expected, we had a wonderful picnic lunch, treated to a variety of Japanese quisine provided by Tet. Thank you so much for this!  To add to this, the view down the Rai Valley – from where we had travelled earlier – was superb.

Following on from lunch, we walked down the slightly rooty track to the rather dry Elvy waterfalls, then on to where the track ends at the Pelorus motor camp. This was new to nearly all of us, so we were most impressed with the facilities provided by DOC; the cooking area and the conveniences. On to the cafe for afternoon tea. Then the Rai Falls, a new experience for us where two of our party braved the very cold water for a swim.

For me, as a first time leader with the club, this trip was very rewarding. Besides myself, only two others in our group had been to Trig K before.

Walkers were: Debbie Hogan, David Cook, Lou & Chrissie Kolff, Dan McGuire, David Blunt, Michelle Cunningham, Tet Yamamoto & Marie Lenting.

20 December 2015 | Abel Tasman Walk & Sail
Anchorage via Bark Bay to Marahau

Skipper: Brian Renwick

On a bright, sunny Sunday morning, five walkers left Marahau at 7.45am with the aim of joining Brian Renwick’s catamaran Canopus at The Anchorage in Torrent Bay by 11.30am.

With only a brief drink stop en-route, we arrived at the Anchorage Hut early at 11.00am after a brisk pace, despite stopping at the lookout to take in the view of Adele Island and the Abel Tasman coastline.

Brian quickly spotted us on the beach and rowed ashore to ferry us in his rubber ducky to the comfortable 30-foot yacht, where after a safety briefing by the captain, we became “the crew”.  Conditions were ideal for cruising and we were soon underway with crew members taking turns to help with sailing the boat towards Bark Bay.

Successfully avoiding other vessels and the many kayakers, we stopped to do some seal viewing at Pinnacle Island. Then, after entering Bark Bay, we slowly headed back down the coast towards Adele Island, with Brian providing hot drinks on board to accompany our packed lunches.

As a break, a stop was made to go ashore and climb up to the 115-metre summit of Adele Island.  Views were had in some directions but bush cover prevented any panoramic vista at the top. Then, it was back to the boat, sailing past Fisherman Island, then finally disembarking at Coquille Bay. Richard had to have a quick dip in the sea before our 45-minute walk back to Marahau.

Overall, it was a splendid, easy and rewarding day’s outing. Thank you, Brian, for organising everything so well.

Captain & leader: Brian Renwick. Crew & walkers: Ian and Marilyn Morris, Lesley Gunn (WTC), Richard Grandbois (visitor) and Ron (the scribe).

10 January 2016 | Heartbreak Ridge | Nelson
Leader: Bob Renshaw

It’s been a couple of years since I last crossed the Heartbreak Ridge so I thought it would be good to repeat the trip to see if much has changed. Unfortunately not! It is just as rough and scrubby as ever. By the time we had reached the first high point at the start of the ridge, my arms and legs were covered in blood from scratches. After a short break we set off along the ridge which undulates over rocky outcrops and rough terrain. There is a sort of track cutting through but it regularly comes to an end.

There were several places along the track where the way on was not too obvious; time was lost searching through the bush; a couple of extra markers here and there would have made life much easier. Fortunately for us the day had started off with some cloud cover and the weather was a bit cooler. (I think we would have baked up there in the full sun).

Eventually, we arrived at Rocks Hut track by 1.30pm for lunch. It was the long slog down to Browning Hut and back out to the Hackett car park, arriving there at just on 5.00pm after 8.5 hours tramping.

On the trip were: myself (Bob Renshaw), Kate Krawczyk, Bruce Alley & Berni Butler.

16–20 January 2016 | South Side of Mount Owen  Kahurangi NP
Leader: Andrea Cockerton

With the forecast changing daily and nine hopefuls, we decided to make tracks as planned and head up the pretty Fyfe River to Branch Creek Hut. The southern access to Mt Owen is mooted as more challenging than the popular route via Granity Pass. With DOC-marked tracks up the Fyfe – and leading to the bush line below Sunrise Peak from the Owen Valley East Road – we simply had to join the dots ... easy!

 With hearty introductions and a bad sales pitch of the route, which turned out to be neither ‘dry’ nor ‘cruisey’, we were off up the delightfully-named Flying Pan Creek. After an hour the track veers north-east to join the Fyfe River. Thereafter, it pretty much follows the river and a trapline, in parts dwarfed by some steep bluffs. There are river crossings, sidles and careful footwork to avoid ongaonga. We saw a couple of blue ducks.

Ready for some snoozing, we arrived at Branch Creek Hut (920m) after some nine hours. There were several amended versions of the route description by this stage, all relatively polite; mutiny was not yet rife! Around the hut, the damp, long grass made for interesting tenting, although the site was flat enough.

The drizzle of Saturday stayed through the morning as we climbed up the grassy ridge to Point 1500m and onto Replica Hill, just 50m shy of the height of Mount Owen. The clouds shifted and parted creating a constantly changing vista and tantalising glimpses of the panorama. We were going to see it all, if only by piece meal.

Coming down the south-east side of Replica Hill to the saddle between Mt Owen, we parted company, albeit for a brief few hours. Bombermonk, Michele, Ian, Steve and myself took the route up to Mount Owen summit, easily attained after 40 minutes by picking up the well-cairned route from the northern approach. The rest of the team headed down to Poverty Basin to set up camp near a tarn.

The visibility continued to improve, so when we got down to the basin a couple of us took off again walking southwest along the ridge to Point 1732 with amazing views of the karst landforms of Sunrise Ridge and down to Bulmer Lake. It was pretty special and we arrived back a few hours later. Kate and Pat had also been scoping out potential route options on their ramble.

Ready to hunker down for the night, we were all temporarily tharwted due to rising winds. So, with great teamwork, we relocated all the tents deeper into the basin, then fell happily asleep.

We woke to the kind of rain reserved for the West Coast, where the folk are hardier. We were softer, staying in our nice tents. It didn’t last; the whistle went; the countdown began, and we were off. The next two hours were interesting indeed. We had to get over to Sunrise Ridge, but it was like a giant maze with poor visibility.

This was no fairytale, but like Mad Hatters, we scurried up and down. There was no tea party either, as we huddled under a rock biv for some solace. The Cheshire Cat would have be smiling indeed. With tenacity and technology (3 x GPS’s) we made our way, following cairns.

The next challenge was to exit off the ridge. With steep bluffs, plenty of spaniards, mud and rain, we took over a hour the reach the bushline, each of us, at some point, slipping and sliding our way down. It felt pretty damn good to hug a tree. We were safe; we were off the tops and going home; just a quick jaunt through the bush. However, the rain got heavier and some of the party got slower.

Fast forward a couple of hours, when five of the crew are now stuck on the north bank of the seriously flooding Owen River. Four got across earlier to the south bank. I later discovered the South-Siders were dining on chocolate pudding, relishing flat tent sites and nice views. While the North-Siders had sloping camp sites in the mud. Times were desperate, as I wondered who would make good eating. 

Fast forward 36 more hours, when the flooded river finally dropped by the second morning. We were getting outta there! John walked gallantly into camp, loaded with food, and led us the short distance to the road-end. Chris Louth, Lawrie Halkett and John had been doing a sterling job liaising with SAR, loved ones and various employers. A big ‘thank you’ to them and everyone on the trip who worked together to keep everyone safe and sane.

North-Side campers were: Ian, Steve & Ben. South-Side campers were: Pat, Bombermonk (Michel from Belgium), Michele, Kate & Andrea (scribe).

23 January 2016 | Captains Creek Hut | Mount Richmond FP
Leader: Liam Sullivan

Nine of us departed Nelson on a day that promised to be hot and fine. First stop was Pelorus Bridge, where we picked up three others: Andrea, Simon & Daniel who were taking pack-rafts up to Captains Creek Hut for a return trip to the bridge.

We set off from the road end arriving at Emerald Pools, a popular picnic spot with a lovely deep stretch of water some 45 minutes later. After a quick stop, we continued along the track which ascended up to a spur, then sidled a ridge, well above the river. Thankfully, this remained within the shade of beech forest for most of the way. The track eventually dropped back towards the river and eventually took us to the turn-off down to the hut, some 3.5 hours from the start. Being on the Te Araroa, the hut receives large numbers of visitors, particularly foreign, with a United Nations directory in the hut book. A few of us braved the water which was certainly refreshing.

After lunch, we returned to Emerald Pools for a slightly longer swim where the water felt significantly warmer than it was upstream. Then it was an easy walk back to the cars.

Party: Bob Renshaw, Val Latimer, Gretchen Holland, David Cook, Bruce Alley, Richard Talbot, Amanda Gregg (visitor), Jack van der Geest (visitor) & Liam Sullivan (leader & scribe).

30 January–1st February 2016 | Kahurangi Point Lighthouse | Kahurangi National Park
Leader: Kate Krawczyk

We set out from Nelson around noon on the Saturday, heading for the mouth of the Anatori River. It took about three and a half hours to get there with a coffee/ice cream stop in Takaka on the way. It’s all narrow and windy shingle road past Collingwood. And there must have been a convention of large boat owners at Mangarakau that week because I have never seen that road so busy. And, it’s not the kind of road where you want to meet large oncoming traffic. However, we made it safely and set up camp, gathered some firewood and explored the river mouth.

We decided that we would carry on driving to the Tumirawiwi River crossing which would cut at least an hour and 5 km off of the walk to the hut and put us in a better position to cross the rivers at low tide which was at 10:40am.  Crossing the Anatori by vehicle was very do-able for both vehicles.

The major river crossings are the Anaweka River and Big River; with Big River being the deepest. It took about an hour and a half walk down the beach to reach the Anaweka by 10am and it was an easy crossing – just over my knees – and I am short! A few of the crew wanted to take a morning tea break at that point but I was keen to carry on and get across Big River. I was a bit nervous because I heard it can be difficult.

We got to Big River at low tide – what a relief! But it was tough to tell where the best place was to cross, as the river was wide and brackish. We found that close to the mouth where the river meets the sea was the shallowest that day. It was waist deep for me; I wouldn’t want to do this in the winter. But, because it was such a beautiful hot summer day, we all got safely across. We decided to stop for lunch and a swim – gorgeous!

We carried on for another hour or so and walked right past the hut ...seriously! It was not obvious from the beach and is set back about 60 metres in the trees; you have to keep a keen eye inland. If you get to the lighthouse, you’ve gone about a half a kilometre too far.

The hut is huge and lovely. It has a great history, being the lighthouse keeper’s hut until the lighthouse was automated back in the 1960s. It has four bedrooms, a massive kitchen and a fully-equipped bathroom with bathtub and vanity. To run a hot bath, you just light the fire and wait for the wetback to heat the water – what luxury in the backcountry!

The biggest issue was the sandflies, which were  unbearable. They made lounging outside the hut on the front verandah impossibly uncomfortable. So, we were somewhat confined to the hut; a typical West Coast scenario.

We headed down to the lighthouse that afternoon but couldn’t follow the beach at that point because it was now high tide. However,  resourceful Rod had found a route description in the hut book that gave us directions. So, off we went with a bit of bush-bashing over the sand dunes to the lighthouse.

On Monday, we made our way out in a leisurely fashion with low tide being closer to noon. The non-retired folk headed back to work; the retirees slowly made their way back to the ‘big smoke’ of Nelson.

Participants: Rod and Carole Lewis, Debbie Hogan, Madeleine Roeher, David Cook, Marie Lenting & Kate Krawczyk (scribe).

31 January 2016 | Sharlands Creek traverse to Marybank Road | Nelson
Leader: Bruce Alley

Being only a half-day walk, our small party of three ‘Mighty Marybankers’ set off from the Sharlands Creek carpark in the Maitai Valley at the leisurely hour of 9am. Following the creek track to an intersection, then taking a left turn up the Supplejack Trail, we wound our way up the hill through regenerating native bush, pausing occasionally to appreciate the scenery and the peaceful silence which was punctuated only by the sound of birdsong. Only one came down from the canopy and posed for a photo.

An hour and a half later, we reached the lookout where there was a convenient seat from which to gaze at the superb panorama of Tasman Bay. 

The next two hours were completely different. We walked along the open tops of the Hira Forest, following various undulating 4WD tracks to climb Wells Hill (458m), which is directly adjacent to the Boulder Bank Drive below. Good views were to be enjoyed of the inland peaks – Fringed Hill, Wooded Peak, Dun Mountain, Little Twin and The Doubles. We then descended to Harris Hill Farm with its charming rental cottages, passing one currently inhabited by Ian and Susan. After more views towards Atawhai and the port, we arrived just in time for lunch at my place in Marybank, beating the hottest part of the day.

Thanks for your company: Ian and Susan Dohoo, my two Canadian companions and NTC members. So glad you enjoyed the diverse walk situated so close to the heart of the city.

By Bruce Alley (guide, scribe, and always open to a bribe).

14 February 2016 | Mount Robert Circuit | Nelson Lakes National Park
Leader: Debbie Hogan

On Valentine’s Day, six intrepid trampers set off for Mount Robert in a “Maxi Taxi”. Our driver, Bernie, (and her son Kahurangi), were tramping with the club for the first time. It was also their first time up the Robert Ridge and the pain of the Pinchgut climb. It was also a first for Jacqui, who fell in love with the whole area, photographing everything.

Graeme led the way, David was the tail-end-Charlie and the trip leader Debbie was somewhere in-between. The weather was perfect for a ridge walk, not too hot, with just a hint of cooling breeze and wonderful views.

After a gentle wander up Robert Ridge the party returned home via the Bushline Hut and Paddy’s Track. In the afternoon sun the track was somewhat hotter than the ridge especially in the absence of the cooling ridge breeze. In no time at all we were all back at the taxi, where the new-comers were delighted to have completed their first trip up Robert Ridge. For both Jacqui and Bernie, it was just the first step in their planning for an overnight trip to Angelus Hut.

As usual, Lake Rotoiti looked inviting after a hot day in the mountains, so four of the six in the party elected to test the water temperature. It was delightful. When the eels came to investigate, Bernie shared her home-made egg and bacon pie with them, much to the delight of some tourists.

Not forgetting Valentine’s Day, Bernie brought funky sunglasses for all of us, a heart balloon and delicious heart chocolates. All too soon it was time to leave paradise, so we boarded the taxi again and headed home to Nelson. The regular taxi fare would have been $600 for the return trip. Luckily it was still the usual $18 each for the NTC members.

Walkers were: Debbie Hogan (trip leader), Graeme Ferrier, David Cook, Jacqui Bozoky, Bernie & Kahurangi Goldsmith.

21 February 2016 | THE SNAIL TRAIL, Editor Hill | Marlborough
Leader: Ray Salisbury

On a fine summer’s day, eight enthusiastic souls departed Victory Square, drove over the Whangamoas, then took the less-travelled road to Duncan Bay in the Tennyson Inlet. At Opouri Saddle (520m), our cars were swapped for boots, and we began the steep ascent. Up, up, up a ridge, cautiously clambering over roots and rocks. This was not an official track, but was well-marked with plastic blue triangles. Once over the crux, a 3-metre cliff requiring the use of handholds and careful foot placement, we drank in a stupendous view over Pelorus Sound to the north. Views over to Tasman Bay and south to the distant Richmond Ranges were enjoyed. This was the first of a series of rocky promontories which offered relaxing rests en route.

The ridge here narrowed somewhat, dropping down to a small saddle before climbing over the second rocky knob. Beech forest morphed into podocarp and rata. Tomtits and robins visited us as we waited for the slower members to catch us. Of course, the title of this piece refers only to the numerous empty shells of native powelliphanta found on the ground. Plastic pink triangles nailed to various trees indicated a recent snail survey had been undertaken here. I surprised a herd of goats who bolted into the bush.

The old track became easier as we passed the third knob and walked into the garden shed-sized bivouac, used by DOC workers. It was locked, but the rain tank provided much-welcome water. After lunch, David and Bernard decided to head home.

Ray pushed on with his troupe to the high point of the Bull Range (1040m). From there it was a team effort in locating bits of blue tape across unusual boggy clearings to discover the steel trig point atop Editor Hill. From there we gazed 1000 metres down to Okiwi Bay, far below.

On our return journey, now numbering six souls, a minor incident occurred as we raced down the final ridgeline to the cars. Young Jacqui slipped and fractured her wrist, but was promptly bandaged up by Dr. Steve. Of equal concern was the safety of our vehicles, guarded by David and Bernard who were bravely fending off weka attacks when we arrived.

So, the eight weekend warriors were reunited at Opouri Saddle. An endurance epic of eight hours was enough to bag Editor Hill, the naming of which we debated on the way home. (Certainly, this editor feels ‘over the hill.’)

Adventurers were: Dion Pont (hutbagger), Ian Morris (hutbagger), Ray Salisbury (hutbagger & scribe), David Cook (hutbagger), Jacqui Bozoky, Bernard Molloy, David Wheeler (WTC) & Steve McGlone (visitors).






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