Trip Reports, February-March 2015

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  1. Lake Rotoiti loop > Nelson Lakes NP
  2. Barnicoat Walkway to Richmond Hill > Nelson
  3. Gordons Knob > Mt Richmond FP
  4. Flora Hut Restoration > Kahurangi NP
  5. Wangapeka circuit > Kahurangi NP
  6. Boulder Bank & Lighthouse > Nelson

15 February 2015 – Lake Rotoiti circuit – Nelson Lakes
Leader: Chris Louth

Kicking and screaming, I was dragged unwillingly away from the comfort of my bed. I hadn’t done a club tramp for eons, and guilt woke me at some God-forsaken hour of the morning to meet my fellow trampers. ‘This will be a good leg-stretch’ I cajoled myself.

Once we arrived at Lake Rotoiti, there was no car shuttle. We were promptly marched along the road for an extra hour to the trackhead on the lower flanks of Mt Robert. But, in retrospect, this rude awakening was probably just what I needed.

Our merry bunch of day-walkers managed to keep together all day, thanks to a leisurely pace. Mark Townsend breezed past us on his mountain bike – good to see DOC rangers keeping fit.

Morning tea was eaten and drunken on the jetty near Whisky Falls, which, alas, were a misnomer.

Somehow finding my unfit self in the lead, I was delighted that my ‘new’ iPhone 4S could pinpoint our position so quickly with its inbuilt GPS.

Lunch was started at Coldwater Hut, and finished half an hour later at Lakehead Hut. Both huts were promptly added to my bagger’s list, before we set off along the shoreline track back to Kerr Bay – about seven hours of walking in total.

As is often the tradition after hot summer day trips, the wallets came out and the ice creams went in.

Walkers were: Chris & Carole Louth, Ray Salisbury (whinging scribe), Kelvin Drew, Pat Holland, Annette LeCren, Bernard Malloy, with visitors Joe & Sharon Bretherton, and Jacky Bozoky.

22 February 2015 – Barnicoat Walkway – Nelson
Leader: Kate Krawczyk

Well, the joke of the day was “if you want it to rain just get Kate to lead a tramp!”

At the Mount Duppa trip a month ago, it hadn’t rained in a month ... then it rained. This time it hadn’t rained in a month then, lo and behold ... it rained again! Rain was much needed; it didn’t dampen the spirits of the group at all – in fact, it added to the adventure, as I will tell you.

We met at 8:30am at my place on Washbourn Drive in Richmond. (Because of the transport issues of this trip, I figured the easiest way to do it was to drop everyone’s vehicles here, take my vehicles to Marsden Valley, then walk back to Richmond and get a willing tramper to drop me off on the way back into Nelson.) Fortunately, this strategy worked quite well, simplifying what would otherwise be a ‘cross-over’ trip with a car exchange.

We started up the Barnicoat Walkway and Tim reckoned that the most interesting route was directly up the ridgeline instead of the sidle track , which is the most common route! He wasn’t wrong  – the ridgeline had good views and was made very interesting by its incredible steepness. We gained 550 metres in no time at all. The walk along the top of the range was a cruise after that. And the route is fairly well marked and easy to follow.

We had patchy rain on our way up the ridge and it came down pretty steadily while we were crossing the range. We were planning on a tea break at Saxton Hill but no one wanted to sit in the rain. About two-and-a-half hours into the walk the Richmond Hill fire lookout came into view. It was a welcome sight, being a destination and a possible shelter from the weather, all in one.

As the nine of us straggled up to it like wet dogs, a welcoming figure appeared on the balcony. I’m sure he thought it was pretty strange to see a group of nine up there on such a wet day. Nevertheless, he invited us in and told us some great stories while we consumed our lunch. He’d been sheltering in this humble abode for 14–16 days at a time keeping a keen eye out for forest fires. He told us how he pops down to the supermarket every two or three days to top up on supplies and for a bit of fitness and company.

I plan on carrying him up some chocolate biscuits on my next walk up there.

We continued down the hill using the forestry roads to pick up the top of Jimmy Lee Creek and followed the lovely bush tracks right back to Washbourn Drive. The walkways here are so great that we only had to walk on the road for about 50 metres before we were back at my place. And on our way home for a lovely sunny afternoon.

Participants: Kate Krawczyk, Sue Henley, Mike Kirwan, Ron Mailer, Mark Graesser, Arif Methee, Birgit, Balveer Singh and Tim Tyler

1 March 2015 – Gordons Knob – Mt Richmond Forest Park
Leader: Lawrie Halkett

This trip left from Lawrie’s place in Richmond with another group waiting at the Badminton Hall. 13 people travelled in three vehicles to the forestry road up to Inwoods Lookout in the Golden Downs area.

A wrong turn at one junction, and one car discovering that they had a leaky radiator, meant we had to pack into two vehicles for the drive up the road to Inwoods Lookout.

We parked slightly further up the hill where the track to Hunters Hut was signposted. We started the tramp about 8:50am, initially through bush that alternated between beech and semi-open clearings.

Before long we were climbing an open ridge with rocky sections. We took a break at the top of a steep section and Chris, who had done the trip previously, pointed out the sidle that we were to use, turning south to meet up with a ridge that linked our route with the Gordons Knob massif.

This ridge was a series of nergs; some in the bush, some on rocky ground in the open which was more demanding than it seemed when viewed from either end.

Once out of the last bush section, it was just a slow climb onto the top; the steepest sections were probably in the bush in the middle sidle section.

There was a fast group who had to be back early, and the main group, which met this group on their descent about half-way up the climb.

While the natural route onto the top at 1685m would have entailed a curved approach, many sidled the intermediate humps on the northern side and all the group were on the summit before noon.

(Note the point we climbed is unnamed; the true Gordons Knob was 100m lower and to the west of our summit.)

Those with cameras were able to take photos from the summit. Both Tapu-a-oenuku and Mount Travers could be made out clearly and a section of Lake Rotoiti. Plus a good segment of the Robert Ridge was also clear. We had  been able to make out Mount Taranaki away to the north from early on in the climb.

Many found the descent rather demanding, partly because the slashed vegetation that was covering the track made it quite slippery. Occasionally, we heard the sound of a chain saw and at the car park we meet the person who had been doing some wilding pine clearing. This was fortuitous, as he was able to take the overflow of the group down to the other vehicle, saving us from having to cram ten into the People Mover.

We arrived at the carpark at 3:10pm, though it was closer to 3:30pm before we set off down the road. We were back at Lawrie‘s place by 4:30pm.

Club members: Lawrie Halkett (leader), Kate Krawczyk, Sue Henley, Chris Louth, Ian Dohoo  (photos), John Whibley, Mark Graesser; Visitors: Sally Ward, Madeline Rohrer, Sharon and Joe Bretherton, Tim Tyler and David Cook (scribe).

14–15 March 2015 – Flora Hut Restoration – Kahurangi National Park
Organiser: Ian Morris

Following on from the previous working bee in March 2013 when the Flora Hut roof was renovated, this year our objective was to line the woodshed, paint the exterior walls and line the interior. 

Work started a fortnight earlier when a small group accompanied Tom Bruce, a roof flashing expert, to replace the rusted gutters on each chimney.

On 14 March the activity commenced with shifting all the firewood out of the woodshed and excavating about half a metre of rotten wood debris that had accumulated underneath. It would have been perfect garden mulch – Kate wished she had brought a trailer.  Bob took on the responsibility of designing and installing the woodshed lining which he did very neatly.  The walls are now well protected from flying lumps of firewood and even over-vigorous use of the axe!

Brian took charge of preparing the iron walls of the hut and had several assistants removing rust and filling holes, prior to applying the galvanising undercoat. Pat controlled the team preparing the woodwork for painting. Most of the painting was done on Sunday and Michael Kirwan, who is a professional painter, gave us invaluable advice.  It was a relief to have warm sunny weather after the frost, ensuring both coats of paint dried quickly.  The walls are now Bowman (creamy yellow) and the doors and windows frames are Nelson Red.  The colours were chosen to be historically accurate to match an old 1928 black and white photo of the hut, strangely enough!

Kate took the lead clearing the drainage trench across the back of the hut utilising her gardening skills.  Marilyn arranged flat rocks beneath the eaves where the water drips without any gutters on the roof.  Brian and Mark put polyurethane on the plywood ready for lining inside the hut.

One week later Silvano installed polystyrene insulation and plywood lining on the ceiling of one bunk-room, not an easy job, because nothing was square. This bunk-room should be slightly warmer this winter – it will be better still when we get the walls insulated and lined.

Participants on 28 February: Tom Bruce, Simon Ridgen, Ian Morris, Marilyn Morris, Lawrie Halkett, Kay Halkett, Bill Fergie.

Participants on 14–15 March: Ian Morris, Marilyn Morris, Pat Holland, Chris Louth, Marie Lenting, Mark Grasser, Joe Bretherton, Sharon Bretherton, Kate Krawczyk, John Whibley, Brian Renwick, Tim Tyler, Bob Janssen, Michael Kirwan.

Participants on 21 March: Silvano Lorandi, Ian Morris

View more of Marilyn's great photos of the Flora Hut reno

22–25 March 2015 – Wangapeka Track circuit – Kahurangi NP
Scribe: Pat Holland

This 4-day trip was run by NTC for some members of the FMC Executive who had attended a meeting in Nelson.

Planning for six was disrupted by Sally Johannesson coming down with a tummy bug and withdrawing. The remaining five arrived at Rolling River car park earlyish, did the car shuffle and got across the Wangapeka River to the start of Chummies track.

The river was at a record low, barely above the ankles. Up the track we climbed steadilly and got to John Reid Hut in six hours with drizzle, then rain, setting in.

I was relieved to find the small stream supplying water was running again (had been dry a month before). After a cosy night with good fire, we arose not too early (still drizzling).

David B elected to stay and go back down - he now had the tummy bug. So four of us went up the ridge in calm but very misty conditions. And so, along the ridge and under Mt Patriarch (not to be seen) and down through the forest to Kiwi Saddle Hut (6.5 hrs). Another cosy night and fortunately, no more sickness in the morning, with mist rising to a beautiful day.

So we climbed up the track to Luna Tops, taking the basin on the left at the bushline. Magnificent view of Luna Lake and across to Mt Patriarch and further in the distance the Mount Owen massif and Matiri Tops ... and a pair of falcons!

Laura and Pat elected to bag the impressive-looking Mount Luna (1 hr return to saddle - not as formidable as it looks). Then down the basin to Stone Creek and the steep, slippery track to Stone Hut on the Wangapeka.

We enjoyed a lovely hut all to ourselves. It was fine and warm, so no need for a fire. On the final morning we headed down the Wangapeka via a fine track above mini-gorges, through beautiful forest full of birdlife.

Before Kings Hut, we were most relieved to find David B coming up the track to meet us. We then had a brief look at historic Cecil King Hut (restored by DOC). We were delighted to see eight whio at the site of the major slip (the lake here now has rapids). Then we scampered down to Rolling River and out (6hr).

Chris behaved himself by not racing ahead too often; Laura, a grad student at UoC, was kept amused by all the old grey beards. This is a grand circuit; not too challenging but diverse with lots of tops and interesting forest - an under-rated area.

Trampers were: Pat Holland (NTC), Chris Louth (NTC), David Barnes (Dunedin), Laura King (Chch), & Rob Mitchell (Dunedin).

29 March 2015  Boulder Bank Walk - Nelson
Leader: Lou Kolf

Heavy breakfast rain soon cleared to a warm sunny morning when the reduced number of 4 of us drove out to the end of Boulder Bank Drive. Here it was beautifully calm with moderatly breaking waves as we set off at 9:00am, but not before we were roped in by a Rotary Club official to join others in the Boulder Bank Challenge Nature Walk, which included some beach clean up en route to the lighthouse.

About half an hour along, a rancid smell of a beached whale joined us for quite some time. The first of the 6 (I think) remaining baches soon came into sight and we were welcomed in to view, as part of the day’s event. Pouring over many wall photos and other mariner memorabilia and listening to the owner’s interesting yarns, we eventually extricated ourselves, to finally arrive at the lighthouse at midday.

There was quite a reasonable turnout of people who were rewarded with a hot dog, explored the lighthouse and some of its history and then continued on, to be ferried back to shore. Impressive photographic shots can be taken from the top of the lighthouse along the length of the Bank. A couple of us were fortunate (or otherwise) to be photographed by the Mail photographer, with the paper photo caption saying we were Nelson Tramping Club “representatives” so a wee plug here for the Club!

As we ate our lunch a northerly wind picked up, so we were soon on our way and into a fairly brisk headwind, ahead of advancing threatening weather from the south, arriving a quicker 2 hours later at our car. Those present were Chrissie Millington, John Fabin, David Cooke and Lou Kolff.



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