Trip Reports

22 April 2007 Mt Hodder. Organiser: Christine Hoy When I put my name down for this tramp I was hoping that I would have people who had been to Mt. Hodder before but only two others phoned, both saying that they hadn’t done this trip before. It was a beautiful day when we set out from the Flora car park just after nine. The cloud descended on Mt. Arthur but thankfully not on Lodestone as we climbed up through the bush and up the last steep bit to the summit. It was rather cool as we sat down and had some morning tea while perusing the map and discussing the route that headed down to the saddle below us. We slowly headed down to the saddle, pushing our way through the bush and occasionally catching a glimpse of it thus ensuring that we were heading in the right direction. There is a particularly steep rocky bit with lots of dracophylum leaves on the ground, which made it very slippery indeed. Safely down at the saddle we followed a trap line to the top of Hodder where we had our lunch. The views were quite clear towards the Cobb Valley area. Following the trap line downwards we arrived at Flora Stream about an hour later. This track is obviously the main trapping line used by the Friends of Flora in their possum, stoat and other pests eradication programme. It comes out about half an hour in from Flora Hut. We arrived back at the car at 3.00 pm having had a most enjoyable excursion. Many thanks to Jocelyn Win and Lou Kolff for the fine company. 25 April 2007 Cable Bay Walkway. Organiser: Robyn Walsh It was Wednesday and quite a change to be doing a Club walk mid week. Being Anzac Day some of the workers were able to take part. There were nine of us leaving from the Glen at 10.00am. A fine mild start to the steady grind up the farm road. Wisps of high cloud hinted that the day could be warm so all the shorts’ wearers had made the right decision. At 11.00am we stopped for refreshments at the top of the first hill and took in the great view sweeping down the farm’s airstrip, along the Boulder Bank, to the city. Then as we moved off for the next stage of the Walkway, Beverley had a penchant to revisit Barfel Peak, the highest point overlooking the Bay. Uta and Dan decided to accompany her whilst the rest of us preferred the Walkway option. We made loose arrangements to meet up for lunch along the track somewhere. Over the saddle, trip organiser Robyn realized it had been fourteen years since she had last walked the track, made obvious by the height of a block of pine trees we were now walking through. These hadn’t even been planted back in 1993. The nicest part of the track today was the native bush. We were thankful it had a QE II covenant on it. By 12.00pm we reached an open vantage point overlooking the sea so we stayed here for lunch watching the odd barge or boat go by. We kept a lookout for Beverley’s group amongst the numerous people who passed by but there was no sign. At 1.00pm we packed up and noticed a short distance away three people appear on the track from the cliff edge of the paddock. As they moved closer we could see it was Beverley, Uta and Dan. There was much laughter as we realized we had both had our lunches so close, but out of sight of each other and weird how we had all decided to move off at the same time. Mental telepathy in action. We continued together for the return walk. Before reaching the saddle again we made a short diversion to check out a small private hut that Robyn had seen many years ago. It was still in fine condition with its little verandah and supplies inside. We left it in peace and carried on with a brief stop at the top and then continuing down the same farm road to the cars. My troops were: John Lyall, Dan McGuire, Uta Purcell, Beverley Muirhead, Jim Maxwell, Robyn Walsh and visitors Mark and Elaine Percy and Audrey West. 28 April 2007 Family Group Roding Mines. Organiser: David Rae Two families visited the Roding area on a slightly overcast day. We decided to visit the chrome smelter and after several ford crossings and lovely bush, we arrived in time to explore and have lunch. Smelter remains included brick structures and iron smelter gear. The way the early miners used the hillside to enable a high chimney was very interesting as was the railway line meeting the smelter from two sides - one from the old Champion Mine and the other from the United Mine. One person commented on the absence of vegetation on the mine tailings after all these years (the 1880's). We were also impressed by the information on the displays along the walk. We returned via the old railway to the Champion Mine. The track was washed away in places and indistinct so is not a doddle. A very nice trip. We hope to return to visit the mines another time. Trip participants were the Rae family (David- leader, Frances, Sean and Hazel) and the Ruffell family (Phil, Matthew and Helen). 29 April 2007 River Crossing Training. Organiser: Mike Drake Cancelled. Too much water. 29 April 2007 Barnicoat. Organiser: Jim Maxwell. Substituted for Sharlands trip . In the steps of The Three Billy Goats Gruff we trotted across a footbridge which marks the start of the Barnicoat Walkway, then followed the track as far as the signposted diversion which leads up a steep slope. At this point Mary regaled us with the delights of Asian cooking using the dark green leafy Raupeti (Nightshade) growing in abundance at the side of the track and which she ear-marked for harvesting on the return journey. The pine forest itself offered ideal walking conditions - dappled sunlight and a soft carpet of pine needles. Emerging out onto the open terrain, behind us lay expansive views of Monaco and Tasman Bay glistening in the soft morning light. On reaching the crest of the hill, a right-hand turn led us along the curve of the hill and through some gorse to the para-gliding area. Here soft golden grasses bent in a gentle breeze as we ate lunch and watched the changing tidal patterns of the Waimea Estuary far below, before heading straight down the hill to join the service road which meanders through areas of deforestation, bush and pine-clad hills where carmine coloured passion fruit vines intertwine and yellow fruit lay in the ditch; there was a marked absence of bird life throughout this entire area. Arriving back at the starting point after a leisurely wander amongst the hills were Dan McGuire, Denis Parnell, Gillian Arbuthnott (scribe), Jim Maxwell, Ruth Hesselyn and Skye, Val Latimer and visitor Mary Wu. 5-6 May 2007 Maitland Creek. Organiser: Tony Haddon A slight threat of rain that never really eventuated, green grassy campsite, luvly dry manuka firewood, great ambience, and creek crossing just cold enough to make one feel alive. The happy campers: Gretchen Williams, Arthur Jonas, Yvonne Kyle, Ross Price, Alison Nicoll, Tony Haddon 6 May 2007 Mt Patriarch III, Wangapeka. Organiser: Pat Holland This Sunday outing proved the adage “the weather always looks worse through a window”. Mixed to dire forecasts for the Western Ranges did not put off an intrepid team of seven who traveled through Tapawera fog to reach the Rolling River car-park. There we found a beautiful morning in the Wangapeka Valley with Mt Patriarch in view under clearing skies. A brisk march up the river-side track for an hour saw us carefully evaluating the river which was still in a fresh. However, classical teamwork got us safely across only wet to the crutch. It was then a plunge into the trackless bush and directly up the SE ridge beyond Patriarch Creek. Although steep and slippery underfoot, the bush is mainly open and occasional blue tags left by Beverly Muirhead some years before gave us confidence that we were en route. It took two hours of sustained effort to reach the bushline (ca 1300 metres). After a well-earned lunch stop, the team proceeded up the steep scrub and then tussock, Hebe and Spaniard clad slopes into sunlight directly under the low peak. Some fancy footwork up the last 100 meters of the E ridge led us to the summit (1590 meters) in very mild and virtually windless conditions. The new DOC repeater station on the peak is a blot on the landscape but this did not spoil our enjoyment of the panoramic views. The middle and high peaks of Patriarch just to the North looked rather inaccessible but the long ridge beyond towards the distant Twins and Mt Arthur looked inviting for another day from Kiwi Saddle, as did Mt Luna. The wild fastness of the head of the Wangapeka and SW to the Mariri also beckoned and the Mt Owen massif was in clear view. It was soon time to retrace our steps. While most of us worked our way carefully down the steep and slippery country, Ruth, the Club’s resident antelope, bounded effortlessly down to wait for us at the bushline. Intense conversations led to some inattention and route realignments on the bush descent. However everyone arrived in good order at the river-crossing and we made it back to the car-park just at dusk after a thoroughly enjoyable and highly recommended outing. Participants were: Pat Holland, Ruth Hesselyn, David Blunt, Mark Stevens, Barry James plus visitors Verina Maeder and Andreas James. 12-13 May 2007 Ellis Basin Hut. Organiser: Andy Clark 544 9503 The forecast was ok and hence a group of five headed to the track start in the Baton Valley. After the first few river crossings, stops were numerous, due to prize winning fungi shots being taken. We seemed to hit the right time of year as there was plenty of fine specimens for the avid photographers to choose from. The first half of the Ellis Track is the most difficult and so I looked forward to the top section which seemed to flow better. The Ellis Basin Hut was reached after five hours and we were the first visitors for at least a month. Plenty of firewood was collected for the projected cold night ahead and plenty left for the next visitors. The balance of the afternoon spent exploring the basin up from the hut. Sunday morning with day packs and cameras, we took a route thru the bush to the open tops towards The Twins, the track having been re-cut in recent times. On reaching the bush edge a couple of hours were spent exploring potholes and surrounding areas. The short visit was good but a whole day would have been better as there was plenty to see and photograph. Back to the Ellis Hut, on with the packs and a return trip to the cars via the same route as the day before. Those to share the trip with me were Gretchen Williams, Carole Crocker, Dion Pont and visitor Aucks. 13 May 2007 Pepin Island. Organiser: David Blunt A larger than usual group of twenty three members & visitors assembled at the Boulder Bank carpark at Cable Bay on a clear sunny day to do a circuit of the 521ha Island with detours to points of interest. Starting off on a farm track to the southern end of the island the first stop was at Passage Hut overlooking Delaware Bay. This had a sign on it saying it had been opened on 10/2/07 by 'The Princess of Hohenzollern. '. (The island is owned by Dr Violla Hallman a resident of the Netherlands who bought it for $2 million in1996.) Just below the hut is the mouth of the estuary where a lengthy stay was made on the beach for morning tea and photos. From there it was a steady upwards climb to the highest point of the circuit track which was an ideal place for lunch. Afterwards the party split into two groups with one going down to the rocky headland and the other up to the trig on Stuart Hill ,the highest point of the island at 401m. Both groups met up again here to enjoy the great 360 degree panoramic view in near perfect conditions. There was no hurry to leave but when we did it was by the most direct route down the rather steepish fenceline to rejoin the circuit track.We were back at the cars by 3pm to conclude a very satisfactory day for Gillian Arbuthnott, David Nielsen, Uta Purcell, Ken Ridley, Katie & Maurice Cloughley, Dan McGuire, Alison Pickford, Shirley Gabrielsen, Christine Hoy, Colin Duncan, Beverley Muirhead, Jim Maxwell, Val Latimer, David Blunt and visitors Margaret Robinson, Chris McDonald, Greg Pickford, John Ward, Pauline Cory, Kazu & Miyuki Abe, and Michelle Johnson. 20 May 2007 Castle Rock. Organiser: Alison Nicoll An overcast day and the possibility of rain did not deter the three keen trampers on this tramp. Although we did wear wet weather gear, the rain mostly held off until we reached Moa Park Hut where we sheltered from horizontal wind driven rain. At this point we decided not to continue to Castle Rock – in fact to do this trip in good time we would need to have left Richmond about 7.30am. Our more leisurely beginning at 8.30am was a bit tight. However as we returned on the track the weather improved and we did get some nice views of the valley under a moody sky. We decided that as we had time on our side by now that we would take a quick look at Harwood’s Hole and this was a good decision as the view from the lookout there was quite spectacular, lit by the sun under the heavy cloud. A very enjoyable day. Alison Nicoll, Mary Wu and John Faber 20 May 2007 Dun Mountain Traverse (or not). Organiser: Margot Syms Saturday was lovely weather, but our tramp happened to be on Sunday. Low cloud, drizzle and wind aloft. A quasi-democratic decision saw us start the trip in reverse, from the Maitai Dam straight up to Dew Lakes within the bush for shelter. View in the open by the tarns – quite limited. Morning tea and a pow-wow were held by the sign to Dun Mountain. Tony played the “whinge police” which kept the discussion positive, and the weather not mentioned. It was agreed to reroute the trip over to the Maungatapu Saddle and down the 4WD track. At first the discussion was confused a little by the organiser talking about Maungapohatu, which is actually deep in the Ureweras. Some of the party felt they had had their exercise for the day and opted to return directly to the dam and do something less stoic for the afternoon. Woolly hats and parkas were on. The bush along to the saddle was magnificent with huge red beech and rata – in contrast to the stunted scrub in the mineral belt. On the 4WD track we descended out of the cloud and soon warmed up. At one point a square inch of blue sky appeared, on went Dan’s sun hat, and the blue promptly disappeared. By mid afternoon we were back at the dam, all feeling we had made the most of the day, having climbed about 1000m. And Monday was fine – but them’s the breaks. Gnomes in parkas: Dan McGuire, Gretchen Williams, Tony Haddon, Yvonne Kyle, Bernard Molloy, Lawrie Halkett, Peter and Margot Syms and visitor Kazu Abe. 27 May 2007 Lake Rotoiti Circuit. Organiser: Willy Stewart Substitute: Coldwater Hut due to too much water in Travers River The moss-lined track leading through stands of Kanuka eventually brought us alongside the glistening waters of Lake Rotoiti, a scene of complete contrast to the white-capped waves dancing across the lake’s surface beyond and in the distance. A gentle meander through the beech forest proved to be a botanist’s paradise because of the luxuriant ferns, pink snowberries and clumps of fungi ranging in colour and shape from round to coral formation, from various hues of brown, to white, to purple. The musical sound of tuis and bellbirds was heard intermittently, although the birds themselves proved to be somewhat elusive. A short detour to Whisky Falls showed us the spectacular power of water as it cascaded down from a great height onto the rocks below. Coldwater Hut and surrounds provided a welcome lunch break, whilst observing a trio of ducks at the jetty and a pair of black swans gliding further out across the water. A brisk return to the cars was eventually followed by hot chocolate and coffee at Café Rhubarbe in Wakefield, en route to Nelson. Rotoiti Ramblers were Gillian Arbuthnott (scribe), Jenny Simmons, Margaret Edwards, Ross Price, Shirley de Groot, Shirley Gabrielsen, Willy Stewart and visitor, Alexandra Du Barry. 27 May 2007 Mt Hope. Organiser: David Blunt Mt Hope was a late change for Mt Misery after finding out that the charges for the water taxi would be much greater than expected. Nevertheless there were still fourteen keen starters who set off on the track to Mt Hope on a fine but rather windy day. The track starts near the Boulder Creek Bridge on SH6 between Glenhope & Kawatiri Junction. Sadly it receives no maintenance from DOC and parts of it are becoming badly overgrown, particularly on the upper section where care also has to be taken to avoid straying off the route. Despite these difficulties most of the party got up onto the range a short distance from Mt Hope itself which is a rather inconsequential bump at the end of the range. The main attraction is the large sculptured granite rocks and outcrops about 1km further northwards and this is where we headed. This area deserves to be much better known and appreciated than it currently is. Here we stopped for lunch to admire the striking rock formations before making the return trip in just less than 3 hours or 7.5hrs hours after leaving the cars. A most enjoyable day. Participants were -- Tony Haddon, Gretchen Williams, Yvonne Kyle, Beverley Muirhead, Alice Patterson, Alison Pickford, Mary Honey, Jim Maxwell, David Blunt, and visitors Rosemary Hatfull, Jo Kay, Susan Sinclair, Leanne McDonald & Fiona Lees. 2-4 June 2007 Historic Tablelands - Exploring Organiser: Arthur Jonas With rain forecast for Saturday but improving we decided that the trip was on. However the showers which began on the walk along the Flora Track soon joined up to become steady rain by the time we reached Salisbury Hut for lunch. After a quick conference we decided that was where we would spend the night and bagged our bunks before going back into the rain to check out the caves a kilometre or so southwest of the hut. One of the two caves is known as Richards Cave, after the miner Richards whose hut was close by. Armed with a photograph of his camp we hoped to be able to identify which of the caves was his, but the mist and rain were against us and we still don’t know. However an interesting feature of one of them was the collection of signatures of early visitors to the caves, some dating back to the 1880’s, still visible on the creamy surface of the stalactites and stalagmites. We returned to the hut and found others had arrived and that night more than thirty people slept there – thankfully our sleeping bags had been respected, perhaps because almost all the other visitors belonged to Tramping Clubs. Next morning it was still raining and another quick conference decided that we would quickly visit the Tablelands Smithy and the Edwin Moore burial place near Cundy’s Creek before calling it quits and heading for the car-park. While at Cundy’s Creek we also examined possible sites of the huts he and another miner named Barford occupied among the fascinating limestone formations. It was interesting to note that in the last few months someone has placed an engraved plate showing Moore’s name and lifespan on the cross which marks the grave. We returned to the hut and picked up our packs, stopped at the Growler Shelter for lunch and a brew and returned to the car-park in intermittent rain and drizzle. The bedraggled quartet was Valerie Latimer, Jenny Hope (visitor), Dion Pont and Arthur Jonas. 3 June 2007 Appletree Bay cancelled. Organiser: David Nielsen 9 June 2007 Family Group Grampians. Organiser: David Rae Two children and three adults set off from the Bishopdale end of the Grampians ascending the Kahikatea track through some nice bush including some really old trees. There was a cold southerly - quite fresh! Once out in the open near the top we carried on to a lookout over Tasman Bay. This was installed by the Rotary Club and has features marked out on a display board including the earthquake fault lines. After a breezy but not unpleasant lunch we carried on to the top where the TV translator is and then continued on down to Collingwood Street. It was much warmer this side with lovely views- especially coming off the top. An enjoyable three hour walk. Trip participants were Sean and David Rae, Gavin Holmwood and Nick and Daniel Kirby. 10 June 2007 Centre of NZ to Bayview. Organiser: Gillian Arbuthnott Setting off from the Botanic playing fields, a cold and blustery southerly ensured that we briskly climbed the winding path to the summit, clambered over the locked gate and once through the kissing gate, scrambled up the hill to the radio mast. From here it was a pleasant amble downhill and out along the western spur to Bayview, from where the open terrain track provides ample gorse observation, rural views to the east up to the Doubles and sweeping views across the city to Port Nelson, Australasia’s largest fishing port, with Tasman Bay and the snow-covered Western Ranges as a backdrop. The tangled roots of a solitary pine tree provided the ambience of an outdoor café for morning tea, and the added bonus of pine cones for two wood burners. Farmland meets suburbia at the top of Bayview Road, from where we wound gently downhill to the junction by Saint Peter’s Church and walked back along the footpath where flax plantings and Myazu Park provide a buffer zone against the traffic of Queen Elizabeth Drive. The prospect of a Sunday afternoon curled up in front of the fire with a good book saw Katie and Maurice disappear indoors to the Founder’s Book Fair whilst Beverley and Gillian continued along Milton Street to the starting point and the prospect of home for lunch. Thank you to Beverley Muirhead, Gillian Arbuthnott and Katie and Maurice Cloughley for your congenial company. 16-17 June 2007 Rocks Hut Crossover. Organiser: Dion Pont On a brisk, fine Saturday morning four of us were dropped at the Maitai Dam gate to then set off up the Dun Mountain track. At the start of the mineral belt area we used the newly formed section of the track which carried on for twenty minutes. Past that the track was rough going. After a short lunch stop at Dun Saddle all the group carried on up the Dun Mountain to check out what little work DoC had done on the Dun Shelter. We then made our way to Rocks Hut arriving about 2.30pm. We had the hut to ourselves initially so to fill in the time we stocked up the hut’s firewood supply for over an hour. That night we had some late visitors arrive around 7.00pm, two women from Search and Rescue (SAR) with an American tagging along on an exercise. Then at around 10.00pm a Czech backpacker arrived after having started off from the Brook at dusk. The trip organiser had a late night playing cards with the SAR group. The next day it was off along the range to the Hackett with a 9.25am start on a fine morning to our next stop at The Rocks lookout. Along the range is mineral belt scrub and open beech forest. The track was good, not too much climbing and sidling of the high points of the range, but plenty of tree roots in some areas. Lunch was at the last open area on top of a large rock. After a quick lunch we headed off with three hours to go, a short stop at Browning Hut. Half an hour from the Hackett carpark, we were met by Tony Haddon who had come to pick us up. We arrived at the carpark at 4.30pm. A good trip had by all, thanks to Alison Nicoll, Carole Crocker, Gretchen Williams and Dion Pont. 17 June 2007 Birds Clearing (or nearly). Organiser: Margot Syms It was in the middle of the first cold, fine and frosty snap of winter and we were not yet acclimatised. However we shunned our warm beds and rose early to sample the temperature of the Canaan area, not renowned for its subtropical winters. We were in the open until the Wainui Saddle for morning tea in the sun on the famous log there. Then down through the bush to the Wainui Hut in a small sunny clearing. The four bunk hut was clean and tidy and would make a nice quick get-away in summer. Then we had to cross the Wainui River twice, fortunately it was low and with care we could tip toe across the mossy rocks and so preserving some warmth in our socks. Finally we headed diagonally up onto the ridge and north towards the fabled Birds Clearing. When this failed to appear nicely in time for lunch there were mutterings about the leader’s navigation. But no, we had simply not risen early enough, or the days are just too short at this time of year to do the trip justice. We had set a turn around time, hoping to lunch in the sun even if without a view. In the event we had to settle for dining in dappled sun in the bush. Uta’s thermometer said 4 C, but it was in the sun! On the way back it felt warmer and the thermometer said 1 C! Finally we were back at the cars in comfortable time before dark. With a temperature of –1 C the concept of an ice cream on the way back was flagged. An hour or so later we were home and cranking up our new heat pumps, old pot bellied stoves or whatever we use to push a few BTUs into the living room. Frost crunchers: David Blunt, Uta Purcell, Ruth Hesselyn, Mary Wu, visitor Amy Tomberg, Margot Syms. Peter Syms joined us for the first and last half hours and in between went mapping. 23 June 2007 Opouri Lookout. Organiser: Uta Purcell Where do trampers go when, because of wintry conditions, roads in the region are marginal or even closed? To the Marlborough Sounds, to see the snow falling there. Two inquisitive trampers set out to follow an unmarked ridge track to a peak of 900m, a pleasant tramp, that had attracted 10 people three years ago. Our observational skills were keenly put to use in the bush. Twigs were snapped and we even found some again on the return. It was sometimes so overgrown, that two pairs of secateurs would have blazed a lovely trail. We reached the first lookout, which opened on one side to the lush farming scene of the Opouri Valley and on the other to the moody picture of the Sounds under scudding clouds. Brief spells of sunlight cheered us up. We spent time photographing botanical delights. Many twisted tree trunks seemed symbolic of this route, which is straight, but we twisted a lot to navigate windfall and rocky knobs. Lunch was on the Peak and in sunshine, the view faintly there through trees. From then on the squally wind became one continuous chilly blast. Temperatures dropped to -1C and my camera batteries stopped working. After exactly 5 hours we spotted our car on the saddle and took the last leaping steps out of the bush to be met with rain: Colin Duncan and Uta Purcell. 24 June 2007 Riwaka Resurgence Organiser: Katie Cloughley. Cancelled lack of interest