Trip Reports, March-April 2012

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INDEX

  1. Ruth's Commemorative Walk Kahurangi National Park
  2. Toaroha-Whitcombe Trip, West Coast > Featured Private Trip
  3. Separation Point Abel Tasman National Park
  4. Kings Creek Hut Kahurangi National Park
  5. Cupola Basin Hut, Nelson Lakes National Park
  6. Fosters Clearing & Mt Baldy, Mt Richmond Forest Park
  7. Hacket-Browning Huts, Mt Richmond Forest Park
  8. Red Hill Easter Traverse, Mt Richmond Forest Park

22 April 2012 – Ruth's Commemorative Walk – Kahurangi NP
Leader: Pat Holland

A wonderful occasion to celebrate the life of a remarkable woman and we were blessed by excellent weather and good company.

The Flora carpark was bulging by the time the group of over 50 assembled at 11am. This included many from Ruth’s family: Rae & Peter Coubrough (Frogs End), Lynne Nicholl (Blenheim), Lynne’s son Clayton and family, and Nancy Macy (Frogs End/San Diego, CA).

In her electric wheelchair, Lynne led us at an alarming speed up and over the saddle to the historic Flora Hut. The campfire team led by Mark were late but the weather was fine and mild and a fire was soon burning.

The crowd assembled in a semi-circle and the formal commemoration was led by our patron Robyn Walsh who acknowledged Ruth’s many contributions to club life over 30 years. This was followed by tributes from several club members.

The formalities concluded with poems read by Pat and Robyn followed by the release of several helium balloons. These ascended high and drifted very satisfactorily in the light breeze.

Conversations over lunch and tea/coffee were with the friendship of Ruth and sadness at her passing ever present. Groups then drifted off by 2pm, many on walks to Mt Arthur Hut or Mt Lodestone.


FEATURED PRIVATE REPORT >

25–30 January 2012 > Toaroha-Whitcombe West Coast Classic loop
Leader & Scribe: Mike Glover

On the 25th January, six set off for Cedar Flats in heavy cloud, looking as if it could rain at any time. After four hours’ walking on the well-cut track, we arrived at the hut, where DOC workers were busy building an extension on to the existing hut to accommodate a total of twelve people. This area is becoming very popular with families getting a taste of tramping on the West Coast, plus the added attraction of the Wren hot pool to soak in.

Day 2: We headed off early for Top Toaroha Hut to find the going considerably rougher. With the weather threatening to rain we pushed on, only having short stops. During one river crossing, Dion slipped off a big rock and ended up in the river, pack and all. Just as well the weather was warm! We had a cosy night drying out our gear while rain poured outside.

Day 3: We crossed Toaroha Saddle in bright sunshine with excellent views along the way. It was great to see so many blue ducks; I think we saw them on four out of six days. After a slow, steep climb out of the Mungo River we were glad to see Bluff Hut, which sits high on the ridge out in the open tops.

Day 4: This was spent resting and sheltering from rain showers and strong winds, while taking in the views as the cloud came and went.

Day 5 was spent working our way up the Hokitika River to Frew Saddle. Thick cloud was blocking our visibility, making it difficult to see where the saddle was. But as we got further up-river, the weather improved, giving us a clear view of the route ahead. After a well-earned rest at Frew Biv, we boulder-hopped down to Frew Hut, negotiating a few tricky river crossings along the way.

Day 6: It was off down the Whitcombe River for another day of boulder-hopping. We all enjoyed using the cableway, and were lucky enough to have perfect weather for the last day of our trip.

Intrepid trampers were: Mike, Deirdre, Wade, Alice and Chelsea Glover, with hutbagger Dion B. Pont.


25 February 2012 – Separation Point – Abel Tasman National Park
Leader: Uta Purcell

This destination was chosen well before the Golden Bay floods. Therefore it was good news to know that the road to Wainui Bay and the start of this trip was open again, though one lane in many places.

Considering the warm summer conditions, I decided to change the round trip over the very shadeless Gibbs Hill to a smaller circuit and without overnighting.

Mark Graesser and I enjoyed the predominantly coastal walk in and out of shade with good views. After Separation Pt we went down to the pleasant campsite at Mutton Cove, then uphill again to rejoin the track back to Whariwharangi Hut and out. Seals at Separation Pt entertained us during lunch.

Since the December flood, the bush-clad slopes along the track to Whariwharangi Hut showed a lot of scarring, the granite rock swept clean of vegetation. Around the hut enormous amounts of silt were evident but tidied.

Trampers were: Uta Purcell (scribe) & Mark Graesser.


10 March 2012 – Kings Creek Hut – Wangapeka Track – Kahurangi
Leader: Brenda Griffin

Weather wasn’t looking great for a Saturday overnight trip to Kings Creek Hut on the Wangapeka Track. We decided to complete the trip in a day instead.

Kelvin Drew joined me on the trip. Not a good start as my alarm didn’t ring so we left later than planned.

At the start of the track, the native birds were out. It was noticeably noisy with bird calls. A few black robins and fantails flitted around. A family of five goats down on the river flats enjoyed the sun.

The tramp follows the Wangapeka River. Sometimes the water is beside you and later, you are looking down at it.

We arrived at Kings Creek Hut for lunch, noticing it was a very clean and tidy hut. A five minute walk led to Cecil King’s Hut, now maintained by DOC. It was good to see the historical hut, built in 1935, is in good repair.

Kelvin and I agreed it was a good days’ walk, albeit long. We were home by 6pm. Trampers were: Brenda Griffin (scribe) & Kelvin Drew.


30 March – 1 April 2012 – Cupola Basin Hut – Nelson Lakes NP
Leader: Uta Purcell

The tramp along Lake Rotoiti, up the Travers Valley to John Tait Hut, and the steeply ascending track to Cupola Basin Hut, can be long, or it would at least appear so on the way back.

Kelvin Drew and Lou Kolff were keen to do it. When Sue Davies joined, she came along with the kind offer by Gary Davies to take us both ways across the lake in his runabout, doing two trips.

Then, at the jetty a fisherman offered Kelvin and Lou a lift as well, which all worked out but not without confusion.

We were comfortably settled for the first night at John Tait Hut, when at 11pm our sleep was rudely interrupted by powerful torchlight and a lot of noise, like an invasion by high-flying aliens.

The second day was brilliant: an early lunch at a new picnic table outside the Cupola Basin Hut got us ready for an afternoon of exploring high on scree slopes next to Mt Cupola. Kelvin and Lou went up steeply, as far as conditions permitted; Sue was more sensible; I observed from a knob lower down.

The stunning views of Mt Hopeless and Mt Cupola had us outside well after dinner, retreating repeatedly to the warmth of the new wood burner. The hut is being painted inside and out, and the track below the hut is cleared of enormous windfalls. The hut was all ours this second night.

On Day 3 we descended early to John Tait Hut with the advantage of Daylight Saving, meeting again the noisy climbers and two hunters from the first day. At 2.30pm we arrived at Lakehead Hut, where Gary was moored. He had walked towards us, meeting us at the swingbridge. As hoped, the weather was good for this trip, the tramping was relaxed but energizing, and so much fun.

Particpants were: Uta Purcell, Kelvin Drew, Lou Kolff and Sue Davies. Supported by Gary Davies.


3–4 March 2012 - Fosters Clearing & Mt Baldy – Mt Richmond F Park
Leader: Ray Salisbury

This tramp was a bit longer and required a higher level of fitness than I expected. However, our quartet that undertook the expedition were all up to the task.

After a leisurely start in Lee’s 4WD, we eventually arrived at the roadend up the Wakamarina valley. It’s called Butcher’s Flat. After that, it was an easy two-hour romp along the old gold miner’s trail to Devils Creek Hut, an old brown NZFS six-bunker.

The stiff climb up William The Conqueror (Pt 1066m on the map) lasted nearly three hours. Initially the track zig-zagged up the face, but eventually, after negotiating two windfalls, eased off onto a relatively flat, rounded mountain top, albeit forested with no views.

From here, the marked track switched south for a kilometre. Upon reaching a small saddle with Mt Baldy, the path departed the ridge to sidle along a steep face for a couple of hours. A highlight was scaring the pants of a weka.

Eventually, with the daylight ebbing away, we reached the ridgeline again. A sign indicated Fosters Clearing, which was pathetically miniscule. The tidy four-bunk hut was merely ten minutes further, and well-located in a much larger clearing. Four souls found four bunks – perfect. Ray got the fire cracking. Yes, it was March, but the 1000-metre altitude and wind gusts necessitated some induced warmth.

Sunday morning saw us return to Fosters Clearing and continue along the main ridgeline, soon gaining the open top of Mt Baldy (1315m) where great views of Tappy, and even the ocean, were enjoyed. Ray pointed his compass due north, and in due time had us back at the saddle, then lunching on William The Conqueror.

The old pack track that led to the stone miner’s huts was wet, narrow, and badly slipped. This detour was more difficult.

The day was all but over when we returned to the car, tired but happy with our wee adventure in the hills.

Adventurers were: Marijke Boers, Stella, Lee Nixon, Ray Salisbury (scribe) & Ben McDowell (guest).


9 April 2012 – Hacket–Browning Huts – Mt Richmond Forest Park
Leader: Gillian Arbuthnott

Perfection is a mix of beautiful bush, birdsong, pine forest, the constant sound of the Hacket Stream far below, seven pairs of boot-clad feet, and a warm, sunny Autumn day.

Like birds on a wire, we perched on the woodshed at the Hacket Hut for morning tea and enjoyed the relative softness of two mattresses on the grass at the Browning Hut for lunch.

On the pleasant return journey, an encounter with a jubilant cross-bow-bearing hunter, and his trophy pig, raised some safety issues as the track on which the said pig met its demise is the scene for trampers, mountain bikers and day trippers (not a re-enactment of The Killing Fields.)

However, thanks to Dan McGuire, Gillian Arbuthnott (scribe), Jim Maxwell, Mike Locke & visitors Lindsay Twiname, Jane & Rod Lewis for yo congenial company & enthusiasm.


Easter 2012 – Red Hills Traverse #2 – Mt Richmond Forest Park
Leaders: Mike Glover & Ray Salisbury

This Easter I proposed our club do a moderate trip so as to attract a broader range of participants. My teenage nephew joined our seasoned members, and fitted in with the family of five, two hut-baggers and a doctor. I noted that our ages ranged from 15 to 50; quite young for a tramping club party of ten.

Fit from our summer sojourns, we decided to keep it local. The ranges of Mt Richmond Forest Park are the under-rated tramping nirvana in our backyard, and home to nearly thirty tramping huts. Our objective was to follow the Te Araroa Trail from Tophouse back to Nelson over the four-day weekend.

Firstly, we needed transport to avoid a lengthy car shuttle. Andy Clark and Barry Pont did the honours – cheers, guys.

Good Friday saw us dropped off in the Wairau valley, skirting round Rainbow Station to the 4WD road up to Red Hills Hut, a welcome relief from relentless sunshine. Four hours down the Maitland into the Motueka, and we were all sweating like proverbial piglets. Boulder-hopping up Lowther Creek during the Golden Hour, racing the impending darkness to find the new hut at Porters Creek. This bright orange NZFS six-bunker squats on a boggy plateau under Porter Knob, in the middle of nowhere. In fact, there’s no decent water supply here.

Day Two saw us saunter along a roughly marked route around the reddened rocks, up over spurs and down steep scree slopes … rough underfoot, with blue skies overhead. Inevitably, Hunters Hut had habitants – two blokes from Barry Pont’s Scout Troupe, plus some latecomers. We tented on the heli-pad, as there was scant flatness to be found. Wade and Josiah did an admirable job in providing a campfire around which to assemble the party.

Day Three – we filled drink bottles and clambered through scrub onto the open tops. Two delightful tarns were picturesque, before we meandered along to the start of the Red Hills range proper. Raymond departed on a solo bid, getting as far as the first of the five summits of Red Hill (1791m) before chasing the fading light down to Top Wairoa Hut, where the party were snuggled around the woodstove.

Our final day’s route involved re-climbing the Left Branch Wairoa saddle, which took 1.5 hours, then heading north up a steep spur onto the tussock tops. Raymond bagged Mt Ellis while the party (who’d been there, done that) took off at lightning speed for the distant beacon of Ben Nevis. A couple of gnarly guts and ledges slowed us down, and with dehydration, it took us about eight hours to exit.

The icecream shop at Hope was a welcome sight for some of our weary wayfarers.

Hut-baggers and their patient companions were: the intrepid Glover family, Dion B. Pont, Marijke Boers, Ray Salisbury (scribe) with nephew Josiah Futter, and guest Simon Garton.


 

 

Sunday 22 April > Kahurangi National Park

A wonderful occasion to celebrate the life of a remarkable woman and we were blessed by excellent weather and good company.

The Flora carpark was bulging by the time the group of over 50 assembled at 11am. This included many from Ruth’s family: Rae & Peter Coubrough (Frogs End), Lynne Nicholl (Blenheim), Lynne’s son Clayton and family, and Nancy Macy (Frogs End/San Diego, CA).

In her electric wheelchair, Lynne led us at an alarming speed up and over the saddle to the historic Flora Hut. The campfire team led by Mark were late but the weather was fine and mild and a fire was soon burning.

The crowd assembled in a semi-circle and the formal commemoration was led by our patron Robyn Walsh who acknowledged Ruth’s many contributions to club life over 30 years. This was followed by tributes from several club members.

The formalities concluded with poems read by Pat and Robyn followed by the release of several helium balloons. These ascended high and drifted very satisfactorily in the light breeze.

Conversations over lunch and tea/coffee were with the friendship of Ruth and sadness at her passing ever present. Groups then drifted off by 2pm, many on walks to Mt Arthur Hut or Mt Lodestone.

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