Trip Reports, April 2009

1 March 2009
Mt Angelus
Organiser: Ruth Hesselyn
After a very wet day on Saturday and a great evening of eating, socializing and games, there were only 5 takers for a 6.30am start on Sunday for the planned trek along to Angelus Hut and possible ascent of Mt. Angelus. As there was still light drizzle falling it was decided to proceed via the Speargrass Track and with the weather not being conducive to photography along the way we were soon sheltering in Speargrass Hut having an early morning tea. However it was soon on with the wet parkas again and heading for Angelus, back and forth across a swollen and fairly swiftly flowing stream and numerous very boggy patches of ground – a step in the wrong place at one point and it was up to my knees! Angelus Hut was a very welcome sight after approx 4 ½ hours of less than ideal conditions. The very kind young warden on duty there took pity on us, wet and cold, and went off to her accommodation and returned with a kettle of boiling water, mugs and teabags which went down very well with a chunk of the celebratory fruit cake from the previous evening. Mt Angelus was definitely out of the question now so it was wet gear on again and although it was very windy at times and difficult for those of us of smaller stature to stay upright, it was a fairly quick trip back along the ridge with a brief stop at Relax Shelter before descending to the carpark. One of our group was heard saying that they had “really enjoyed” the day. Personally I couldn’t agree with that, however it was a fair day’s exercise and at least went some way towards working off the previous evening’s indulgences.
Those who braved the elements were Ruth Hesselyn, Mike Drake, Pat Holland, Brian Renwick and Carole Crocker (scribe).

7-8 March 2009
Peel Ridge / Balloon Hut
Organiser: Jo Kay 

Companions: Gretchen Williams and visitor Sandrine Savarit 
We started at the Mytton’s Hut end of the track, which zigzags up the hill in a surprisingly gentle gradient through beech forest and a stand of Dracophylum near the bush line. At the ‘crossroads’ sign on the ridge there was a 100m track to a viewing area of Lake Peel. Over the ridge the track sidles down toward the lake. We lunched in a sheltered spot beside some larger rocks as a howling cold southerly blew over the lake from Mt Peel. Another km of gentle climbing took us out of the basin to the next ridge from where you can see Balloon Hut. There were still a lot of Gentians flowering up here and signs of lots of Bulbinella and Celmesias having just finished flowering.
After meeting our fellow hut companions and having a cup of tea, Gretchen read from the information notice board about the Bishop’s Rock Cave and surrounding area and we decided to explore. The Bishop’s Rock was used as a pulpit when there was a settlement in the area. A short cave/tunnel under the rock leads down Cundy’s Creek to a clearing, the site of the old blacksmith’s store. Following down this creek we were looking for more signs of old dwellings but were unable to find any.  
Sunday turned out to be cold, misty, and windy and wet so visiting Mt Peel was not an option. When we reached the ridge there were a few breaks in the clouds so we decided to carry along the old Bullock Track. From here there are lovely views along the Cobb Reservoir and back up the Cobb Valley.
The final leg was a bike ride from the Bullocks Track end to collect the car, saving a long walk back along the road.

8 March 2009
The Doubles
Organiser: Ray Caird
Four enthusiastic trampers showed up early for an assault on the Doubles. Ray's car actually negotiated the road to Maungatapu Saddle, despite lots of ruts and holes, though the car came off second best!  
With a fresh southerly blowing, we got to the Lookout on the second Double for lunch, with great views of the Richmond Ranges. The road back was not so straightforward, as Ray went to retrieve his car. The rest of us went down the zig zag through the bush, which is very overgrown. We got lost near the forest and wandered around for half an hour. When we got out to the forestry road Ray was already there to meet us at the top of the track. Participants: Dan McGuire (scribe), Jane Dewar, Lou Kolff, and Ray Caird

15 March 2009
Rameka Track
Organiser: Ross Price
Brenda Griffin and Sandra Lawn joined Ross for an interesting trip in beautiful weather on a well maintained track. Accompanied by birdsong most of the way the track meanders through native bush and limestone. Lunch on the top treated us to some great views of Takaka Township and down the coastline; however Farewell Spit was hidden by cloud. On the return we met a cyclist, and, back near the beginning of the track, a grossly unprepared tramper, eating a small packet of sugar and unaware of his whereabouts or route. Our advice was for him to return to his car and head down to the coast by car as he was inadequately equipped for where he thought he might go. Brenda and Sandra took a side trip to Harwoods Hole and Lookout while Ross looked after the car, and fought off the sandflies.

15 March 2009
Organiser: Andy Clark
Assembled by 7.00 am at the Church Steps were our party of eight who were to travel to Marlborough to climb Mt Fishtail and visit Mt Fishtail Hut. In due course our start point of Pine Valley was reached and after getting both vehicles through the stream all was ready for the tramp. The first twenty minutes we followed the valley and then the climb began, all handling the pace well. Upon reaching the bush edge some of the group approached the summit via Fishtail Hut while others took the direct route to Mt Fishtail summit keeping to the ridge. Debate is still ongoing as to the easier option. Lunch on top, distant peaks named and future trips mentally noted. All returned via Fishtail Hut making good time down to the cars with only two wasp stings shared amongst the group. Eight hours return from cars to cars with perfect weather and company.
Those on the trip were – Dan McGuire, Ray Caird, Ian Pavitt, Mark Stevens, Deidre and Wade Glover, Jane Dewar and Andy Clark.

22 March 2009
Parapara Peak
Organiser: Pat Holland
 Four keen souls made the early start from Nelson required to complete this substantial day hike. With clear skies and no wind in the city, optimism abounds only slightly dampened when we reach the road end to be met by Tom and mist. Across the Pariwhakaoho Stream (some with dry feet!) and up the small gorge of Copperstain Creek and then onto the ridge track proper. A few glimpses of blue sky convince us that a clearance is inevitable and so on we press. The bush is richer and more diverse than the Nelson side of the ranges (wonder why?) and there are a lot of birds including Kea and a lone Weka. Tom also spots an Owl sitting solemnly on a branch above the track. After three hours and a couple of steep stretches, the track levels out and we are above the bush-line and making the full right turn onto the summit ridge. But where is it in the mist? A series of false peaks appear one after another out of the gloom. But eventually we reach the Parapara Peak trig (1240m). It is relatively calm but views of Golden Bay are not to be had. So after lunch we trudge back down and as the mist thickens to drizzle we thankfully reach the cars for an eight hour round trip. Excellent track and interesting bush but the Weather Gods have spoken this time for Pat Holland, Jane Dewar, Carole Crocker, Bernard Malloy and Tom Brown.

21-22 March 2009
Golden Bay
Organiser: David Blunt

Cancelled through lack of support.

28-29 March 2009
Mt Bovis
Organiser: Marguerite Verheul
Trip members: Dion Pont, Tony Haddon, Gretchen Williams and Marguerite Verheul. 
A good steady climb up from Bullock Creek brought us above the bush line by mid afternoon, some cloud was starting to hang on Mt Bovis but we still had time to check out camping options and a potential route for the next day. The first obvious camping option beside a small tarn just off the track was ignored and the group decided to sidle on to larger tarn south of Mt Bovis. (Hmmmm not sure who initiated the idea of sidling rather than staying on the track as far as possible!) 
An hour later, after lots of mutterings & -(&^!%@*^?!! through wonderful Leatherwood, the tarn was still an hour away so a nearby level became the campsite, with its views across the surrounding limestone country and glimpses of the sunset on the coast through gathering mist.
A very comfortable night for most, with numerous Kiwi heard.
Sunday morning started with rain, cleared for packing then more mist while we climbed the rocky ridge to Mt Bovis. By 11.00am the weather had cleared again and Tony disappeared off back down to the car while the rest of us headed down the spur and into the head waters of Dilemma Creek. 
After numerous compass bearings, discussions about how far along the ridge we had travelled and several interesting aerodynamic manoeuvres by party members we finally reached the river mid afternoon. The river however was the next challenge with its sculptured walls creating a shallow gorge with deep pools over waist deep and occasionally the need to climb out of the river to avoid total submergence.
The sun had almost disappeared by the time we reached the junction of Dilemma Creek and the Inland Pack Track but it was will worth the effort as this part of the track is surrounded by high cliffs on both sides creating a dramatic landscape and a channel for sound to travel. In the quiet of the darkening day a kooeee was heard from down the river, and eventually Tony appeared on the track. He’d spent the last couple of hours exploring the Fox River and had decided to travel on up to meet us.
It was 8.oopm before we got to the car but freshly brewed coffee from a Punakaiki Cafe and supplied by Tony gave the party the caffeine kick needed to get back to Nelson by midnight. A late day but well worth it and the trip was worth almost every bruise and scratch some of us were nursing up to two weeks later.

29 March 2009
Copper Smelter
Organiser: Alison Pickford
Gillian Arbuthnott, David Blunt, Jane Dewar, Jo Kay, Sue and Mike Locke, Dan McGuire, Merrick Mitchell, Greg and Alison Pickford had a flawlessly beautiful day for a circuit from the Roding carpark to the Copper Smelter, where we inspected the site, read the interpretation boards, and admired a huge wasp nest (from a respectful distance) and we followed the tram track for elevenses at the Coppermine. David had brought along a piece of cut and polished rock showing a copper streak so we could see just what the miners were after. They did a truly enormous amount of work for just eight days smelting.  
After elevenses, a scramble up a rough ridge to lunch between Mts Meares and Malita with views of Dun Mountain, Barnicoat Range on the one side and Richmond Ranges on the other. David peak-bagged Mt Meares while the rest of us lazed in the sun. As we continued along the ridge Mt Richmond came into view. Then we plunged into the forest, climbed up the back of Malita and suddenly popped out into the sun at the top with views bounded by the Mt Owen and Arthur Ranges, Takaka Hill and beyond; to Separation Point, Dun Mountain and Bryant Ranges. What a marvelous part of New Zealand we live in! Especially on such a beaut autumn day. Wouldn't recommend this trip for the height of summer - it would be hell!

3-5 April 2009
Mt Hopeless / Hopeless Hut
Organiser: Mike Glover
On 3 April we set out to climb Mt Hopeless. Jocelyn Winn, Mike, Chelsea and Alice Glover went via Coldwater Hut and up the Travers Valley up to Hopeless Creek Hut. Ruth Hesselyn, Mike Drake, Ian Pavitt, and David Blunt, went via Sunset Saddle and met us at Hopeless hut later that evening. Dion Pont came up that night via Coldwater and up the Travers Valley. He arrived at 10pm. The next day we left the hut to climb Mt Hopeless at 8:00am in beautiful sunny weather. We walked in bush for about 15 minutes then started the climb. Once we got to the rocky shingle slide we started heading up the last bit of rocky ridge line to the summit. In some places it was a bit exposed. We arrived on the summit at 12:30pm, the wind was very cold and we could see down to Lake Rotoroa. We couldn’t see all of the lake because of the cloud cover. A big group photo was taken by many cameras while we all sat freezing on the summit waiting for the camera man to finish. After a short lunch we made our way back down to the hut. The next day we went into the hut and found Dion lying in bed eating hot cross buns for breakfast while we had to eat porridge. On the way out we stopped at Coldwater Hut for lunch, and then made our way around the lake to the cars. It was a fun trip.
People on the trip: Ruth Hesselyn, Mike Drake, Ian Pavitt, David Blunt, Dion Pont, Jocelyn Winn, Mike, and scribes, Alice and Chelsea Glover.

5 April 2009
Rabbit Island
Organiser: Jim Maxwell

Participants – Jim Maxwell, Gillian Arbuthnott, Dan McGuire, Katie and Maurice Cloughley, and Sue and Mike Locke. An easy walk around the western end of the island via the front beach and track facing Rough Island. Then up the main road back to the cars for lunch beside the beach. After lunch Katie and Maurice went for a swim and the rest of us had a walk along the eastern end of the beach. A cool day, pleasant for walking.

10-13 April 2009
Arthurs Pass, Lake Mavis
Organiser: Ruth Hesselyn

After a five hour drive from Nelson to Arthurs Pass, it was good to finally stretch our legs and do a sandfly jig at the Mingha carpark, 5km south of the Arthurs Pass Village. From here we crossed the Bealey River and headed up the Mingha Riverbed towards that day's destination, Goat Pass Hut. The track consisted of riverbed travel initially and then, as the river narrows into a gorge, we climbed the track on the true right which takes us quite a way above the Mingha River before dropping back down to the river once more. About two hours in, we came across the Mingha Biv which Dion was very pleased to "bag" for his collection. From there a steady climb, some of it on boardwalk, to the Goat Pass Hut which was reached in 3.5 hours from the carpark, at 5.00pm. With a cold wind blowing over the pass, the hut was a welcome sight.  
Day 2: dawned misty and with the cold wind still blowing through the valley. From the hut we retraced our steps about half a kilometre and then started to climb towards Lake Mavis. The wind and mist did not make the outlook very promising at this stage, however, after over an hour's climb the wind died away and lo and behold, clear blue skies started to appear. We had wonderful views as we approached Lake Mavis, with Mt Oates towering behind it. With the recent snow, it all made for a very picturesque sight. We carried on past Lake Mavis, continuing to climb to the ridgeline at about 1800m. This allowed us to see down towards the Edwards River Valley system and that evening's destination. We dropped down and sidled around the large tarn, continuing our descent with more sidling above steep bluffs to locate our "easy" descent to the valley floor. This "easy" descent proved more challenging than any of us had anticipated due to the initial steep drop-off which was covered with snowgrass topped with slushy snow. Anyway, with that behind us our campsite was quickly reached, tents erected (except for Dion's tent as he immediately shot forth down the valley to bag the Edwards Hut) and a wonderful meal quickly prepared and consumed. Everyone was in their tents by 7.00pm as the cold wind did not make for star gazing late into the night. During the night Kiwi were heard which was both enjoyable and encouraging.  
Day 3: once again we were greeted by a misty start to our day. As we proceeded up the Edwards Valley towards the Taruahuna Pass, a group of 7 or 8 experienced-looking trampers were ahead of us, also heading for the Hawdon RiverVvalley, and they looked like they knew what they were doing. So, being experienced Nelson trampers, we followed them, into the mist. After half an hour's climb, we lost sight of them and also any sign of cairns. Leader Ruth brought our party to a halt saying "maybe it might be a good idea instead of going on blindly to actually find out where we are". Ruth then dropped her pack and retreated to search for cairns, whilst Mike got out his trusty GPS to see where we were. In the meantime we could hear voices, obviously from the leading group, way over to our left, also seeming to be looking for their bearings. Sure enough, we had turned off approximately 400m too soon and we were actually heading up to climb Falling Mountain, not really where we wanted to be. After over an hour's wasted effort, we were finally on our correct way. The moral of the story is, don't surmise that other people know what they're doing! So, back on the track, heading for Tarn Col (1368m) which we duly reached and where we stopped for a welcome lunch break and brew-up. Some members of the group got good photos of a falcon which had landed near us, to check us out. From Tarn Col we followed the outlet down to East Branch where we turned south and headed to Walker Pass which was only an approximately 90m climb, and afternoon tea at the large tarn on the Pass. The weather at this stage had cleared and we had good views down the Hawden River Valley. The track from here follows the Twin Fall Stream, sidling above two picturesque waterfalls and then down into beech forest and river flats where the new Hawden Hut is sited. A very flash, new hut and very full, (and another hut for Dion's ever-growing collection) and we all agreed to carry on down river further to camp at the old hut site. What a great site it was, with plenty of firewood and great tent sites in and around the clearing. More Kiwi heard this night too.
Day 4: a leisurely pack-up and an easy exit down the Hawden River valley flats, about a 3 hour walk to the car.
A special mention on this trip must be made regarding the quantity and quality of the food provided. The six of us were divided into three teams of two people, with each team cooking for the whole group for one night. The competitive spirit seems to have kicked in with each team trying to outdo the other with its gastronomic skills: each night consisted of an entree, main course, and dessert. I don't think it will be long before we will be seeing "silver service" on future trips.
Many thanks to organiser Ruth Hesselyn for putting this trip on, and also to the following for making the whole weekend a very enjoyable, sociable event: Carole Crocker, Dion Pont, Marguerite Verheul, Mike Drake, Ian Pavitt (scribe).

12 April 2009
St Ronans Stream
Organiser: Gillian Arbuthnott

Replaced by Cable Bay Walkway and organised by Jim Maxwell  
Only two others on this trip, Val Latimer and Dan McGuire. A nice day for the walk and we were surprised at the number of other people with the same idea. 

19 April 2009
Crusader from Pokororo
Organiser: Lawrie Halkett

A slight variation in the trip saw a bunch of intrepid hikers head up the North Branch of the Graham Valley Road, rather than the programmed Pokororo Road. With no-one in the group having attempted Mount Crusader from this entry point, it was left to a quick look at the mountain as we drove along the west bank of the Motueka River Valley. The obvious ridge on the map ended half way up in a rampart of limestone bluffs. After a quick consultation at the road end it was agreed to head south up a stream then take a likely looking spur onto the top of McMahon, then trundle along to the top of Crusader. The car park was around 300 metres asl and Crusader at 1,428 metres asl. The group was mightily encouraged as both Ian and Tom had a GPS and knew that despite what looked like a very short walk – a mere hop, skip and a jump - we would at least be able to measure our progress. Planning over and done with it was up and away – the operative word being up! It is always exciting and a fun experience having to route find and not rely on signposts or defined tracks, but by the end of a nine hour plus bush bash the gloss had worn off for most! One positive, in addition to the fine company, was the amount of birdsong throughout the day – the Bellbirds and Tuis – constantly chattering away overhead. Despite plenty of scratches and bruises the mission was successful, with nine of the party of ten making it to both McMahon and Crusader. On returning to the vehicles just on dusk everyone said it had been a very satisfying experience, but all agreed that no-one was volunteering to lead another NTC trip to Crusader along this route!!
Party included: Ian Pavitt, Tom Brown, Barry James, Merrick Mitchell, David Blunt, Kazu Abe, Lawrie Halkett and visitors Raymond Salisbury, Sue Marren and Phil Barnes.

19 April 2009
Maitai Caves
Organiser: Gretchen Williams
Ten avid trampers assembled at Church Steps for an assault on Maitai Caves. It was a very mild April day with the sun attempting to come through. We enjoyed the Podocarp Forest and walk along the creek, arriving at the caves for lunch. Most people opted to go into the caves for a look. By the time everyone had come out of the caves, there were hordes of new arrivals from school groups, and we beat a hasty retreat.
Although this walk is not too challenging, it has some of the nicest bush near Nelson City. Participants: Gretchen Williams (fearless leader), Dan McGuire, Alison Nicoll, Sandra Lawn, Brenda Griffin and visitors Fiona Nisbett, Natalie, Sarah Vickerman and Mitch Bloom.

25-26 April 2009
St Arnaud Range
Organiser: Mark Stevens 545 7564

Cancelled due to adverse weather. 

26 April 2009
Lakehead Hut
Organiser: Willy Stewart

Cancelled due to adverse weather.