Trip Reports

16 March 2008 Mt Arthur Traverse Lawrie Halkett Sunday began and ended a wonderful day; great weather, great people and the best one day walk in the Nelson Province. An early start from town meant the group was on the track bright and early. Two youngies (yes people in their 20s) ensured that we more mature types had to step out to show we were still a force to be reckoned with. Past the hut, down into Ellis Basin and up the western rocky ridge to Mt Arthur Summit in time for a leisurely lunch. Then it was back down the conventional eastern ridge track toward home. The highlight being meeting a middle aged couple with no shoes or socks, yes that's right; doing the return trip barefooted! Those in the group included members Ruth Hesselyn, Carole Crocker, Brian Renwick, Lawrie Halkett and the two youngies (prospective members) Evangeline and Daniel.20 April 2008 Starveall Hut Organiser: Margot Syms A tramper forgetting his boots is akin to a golfer forgetting his clubs, or Batman forgetting his bat costume. So integral are they to the pursuit. I maintain it was the excitement of the first frost that led to me forgetting my bat costume... Fortunately Steve was persuaded to lend me his nice shiny trainers. And so it was that I, Steve, Uta and Ruth began our tramp to Starveall Hut. Before long I was happily splashing through the eight stream crossings in Steve’s best shiny trainers. From there the walk plunged into bush. Steve and I pressed on ahead, whilst Ruth and Uta, both harboring injuries, decided to take a steadier pace to the hut. The view from the hut was utterly clear. Behind us the enticing ridge lines of the Richmond Ranges, and, in front, civilization, before the glistening sea. Inside the hut we found a pair of shorts, and a hat. Further down the track we had found a t-shirt. We came to the conclusion that there must be a naked man running around the hills. I wondered if I could borrow his boots. After a relaxing lunch Ruth and Uta started back. But, with the ridges so enticing, Steve and I led up a little further. The view opens up as the ridge is reached. It was with a real sense of reluctance that we also made our descent. It was a lovely, energetic tramp and a fantastic introduction to the Richmond Ranges. Ruth had described the route as a “workout”. But as ever New Zealand, and indeed the Tasman District, again proved its understated grandness with snatched glimpses of astonishing panoramas and varied bush and forest. I washed Steve’s trainers. Scribe Tony Benson. Other participants: Uta Purcell, Ruth Hesselyn, Steve Whyte27 April 2008 Shedwood Bush Tramp Organiser: Rosemary Weir. Cancelled. Weather 25 - 27 April 2008 Red Hill Organiser: Ruth Hesselyn Day one went more or less according to plan, well, for most of it. Rendezvous point was Belgrove then onto Inwoods Lookout. Good weather and a good pace soon saw us up and over the Gordon Range and down to the bushline for a relaxed lunch. Seating arrangements were movie style, with the screen being filled by red hills. Lunch was duly eaten, the map passed around and a suitable route sorted for the morrow. Then it was packs on for the steep descent to the Left Branch of the Motueka River, as per usual the troops spread out, with myself bringing up the rear. Once down, it was up river and slope to the inviting Hunters Hut.Oops, looks like one is missing! Two back to the river where we deduced that the missing person must have gone downstream. Mike took the river route and I took the track, meeting back at the junction to Inwoods Lookout. Yippee, we spotted the lost soul heading our way. Fortunately, he had decided that he was travelling in the wrong direction and retraced his steps. Happily back at the hut, a pleasant evening was had chatting to a couple of resident (in the area for 10 days) possum monitors, not to be confused with trappers. Interesting stuff and apparently they also get monitored.Day two, we were up at 6.00am and away just after daybreak, to beat the rain that was forecast for later in the day. Back to the river then up valley and onto the main spur that runs directly to Red Hill. Apart from a little scrub bashing here and there, the route was straight forward. A few hours of steady plodding saw us shivering on Porter Ridge, wondering whether to continue on to the summit, as by now the tops had disappeared and conditions were looking decidedly gloomy. We opted for retreat and started to descend, but ho hum, were we too hasty! The skies looked to be clearing, so with decision making as fickle as the weather, we altered course and headed on a rock hopping traverse to a tarn studded basin for lunch. From here a short climb took us onto the spur that runs down to the hut and after an easy descent under blue skies (grrr) we arrived back at the hut around mid afternoon.Dinner conversation was enlivened by the arrival of a young Englishman who is walking the length of New Zealand. We cheered him up with tales of woe on the dangers of river crossing in New Zealand.Day three and as anticipated, we awoke to grey skies and drizzle, but at least the Motueka River was still easy to cross. The day continued to get colder, mistier, wetter and windier as we retraced our steps up through the bush and onto Gordon Ridge. So, with heads down we continued on our way, a comment was passed that the ridge seemed to be quite long. Oops, after a bit of reassessing the situation, we discovered that we were on North Peak. Oh well, at least we got in one summit. So, a quick retracing of steps got us back on track and an hour or so later at the cars.Thanks to Christine Hoy, David Blunt, Mike Drake, Ray Caird (visitor) and Uta Purcell for an enjoyable (oddly) and slightly unpredictable weekend. Ruth Hesselyn (scribe).4 May 2008 Dun Mountain Walkway Organiser René Visser Jim Maxwell, Julie Sherratt (scribe), René Visser and visitor, Anthony McNamara met at the Tantragee carpark at 9.00am. We climbed steadily up the start of the Dun Mountain Walkway, turning right onto the Ridge Track above the Brook Stream. Stopped for coffee and a slice of René’s excellent feijoa cake while taking in views down the Brook Valley to the port, and the spectacular sight of the Arthur Range with its huge new dumping of May snow. Heading onward we chose the steep Waterworks Walkway Track down through the bush, over the 4 wheel drive roadway, and soon emerged on the Brook Stream just above one of the old weirs. A stroll down the Brook past remnants of Nelson’s old water supply, then we stopped to read the information board for the proposed Brook Waimarama Sanctuary. Noted that we had traversed some of its precincts, already well stoat-trapped and alive with fantails and bellbird song. Through the Brook Campground, past new housing, back to the cars by noon. Thanks René for a pleasant Sunday morning exploring our back doorstep!4 May 2008 Ben Nevis, with Marlborough Tramping Club Organiser; Tony Haddon Tony organised a special trip for the club by inviting Marlborough TC along. Four took up the offer – Val and Buck came over the night before, while Gerald and Steven must have been up before the sparrows had even thought about it. On the eve of the trip we awoke to see Ben Nevis and surrounding hills covered in snow. This caused a wardrobe rethink and snow shoes and goggles were dusted off. By that evening the bulk of the snow had disappeared, so the snow shoes went away but the winter woollies stayed out. The forestry road access allows a high starting point (600m), but it would be fair to say that the logging company did not have as a high priority the restoring of signs to the track end after logging. Maybe we should do a bit of membership recruiting among forestry workers. The air was cool as we set off and just about everyone wore a hat. Dan’s was the only sun hat, but a closer inspection revealed a woolly hat underneath it. After we got above the bush line we could see from Tapuaenuku in the east to Tasman Bay in the north to the snowy western ranges. There was a tiny cloud with an undercarriage of precipitation touring around. Soon it spotted the caterpillar of trampers and drifted over for a look. Then we had panoramic views while it was snowing lightly. In said weather lunch was partaken on the summit on principle, but people were not inclined to linger. Ruth had just poured herself a tankard of hot tea when the group got up and left! Back down to the cars and Gretchen was juggling change trying to organise the car money. All was fine until Mark brought out his credit card to pay, however he baulked when Gretchen started to copy down the number. Despite the minimal car parking being on very sloping ground, people managed to manoeuvre without so much as a scratch to any vehicle. Oh that we could see such care at the supermarket carpark.Marlborough TC : Buck and Val Beveridge, Gerald Dalton, Steven Grant.Nelson TC : Tony Haddon, Gretchen Williams, Ruth Hesselyn, Mike Drake, Dion Pont, Tom Brown, Marguerite Verheul, Christine Hoy, Yvonne Kyle, Arthur Jonas, Trish Bennett, Mark Stevens, Alice Patterson, Jo Kay, Susan Sinclair, Dan McGuire, Ruth Henry and Margot Syms (scribe). Visitors : Lenika Onderwater, Jan Thompson and Gillene Haldane.11 May 2008 Cycle Nelson Organiser: David Nielsen From the Stoke Police Station, five Lance Armstrong wanna-bes sped off unpursued down Songer Street at the start of the Tour de Nelson; adopted the dynamics if not the appearance of Bombardier 300s along the Monaco/Airport cycle-way and exhibited David Tua-like upper body strength as five bikes were lifted over the No 8 wire fence which marks the southern boundary of the Tahunanui Motor Camp. A leisurely ride through the said camp and along picturesque Rocks Road brought us to the Vickerman Street end of the Maitai River Walkway, where stunning autumn leaves decorated various parts of the concrete path and riverbank. At the Nile Street end our mountain biking skills came into play as single file we dipped and dived and wound alongside and above the river; we returned via the road and eventually arrived at the Founders Café. Lattes and beer (yippee, no drug testing here) were savoured as a shower of rain pattered down overhead on the verandah roof – hmm, what weather forecast did you listen to? The new cycle path alongside Queen Elizabeth Drive is to be recommended and a quick traverse across town brought us to the start of the Bishopdale Railway Reserve Incline. And the reward at the end? A double rainbow, sunshine and rain. And for added fun, a hailstorm and cold rain blew in from the south as we fast tracked along the Stoke Railway Reserve. Eventually five elated and exceedingly wet cyclists arrived back at the starting point. The yellow jersey? Nah, too much fun was had to think about that. Spinning ten wheels were: David Nielsen, Gillian Arbuthnott (scribe), Ken Ridley and visitors Pam Satherly and Anthony.10-11 May 2008 Cobb Pick and Mix Organiser: Mike Marren Followers : Ruth Hesselyn, Alice Patterson, Dion Pont, Jo Kay (scribe). We arrived at Trilobite Hut on Friday night to give us an early start on Saturday, and reached Fenella at lunch time on Saturday with the options for Saturday afternoon narrowing as the rain started. We all opted for a “Pit day” afternoon and enjoyed the warm fire, reading, Sudoku, Mike’s panklets with Alice’s toppings and entrée and cards. Sunday morning’s activities were delayed to see what the weather would do but at 8:30 the all clear was given to proceed onto the tops. The main group travelled up the track toward Kakapo Peak then turned along the ridge towards Mt Benson. There were several route choices around some of the peaks with high and low roads taken. The descent involved some Tarzan and Jane antics swinging down through the trees to cope with the steepness. I opted to return via the valley after a small side trip to the tarn and up to the ridge to see along the tops to where the rest were headed and was rewarded with views down to Lake Cobb and the Waingaro Valley. The final treat was a close up view of a large antlered stag on the side of the road, just before we reached the saddle on the road, as we climbed up from the lake. 18 May 2008 Nelson Lakes Organiser: Ruth Hesselyn Crisp and crunchy conditions were encountered along the moss covered path of the Buller River Anglers Walk. A wide and well graded track that winds for a couple of kilometres through Manuka and Kanuka trees to the Mt Robert Road. We emerged near the source of the Buller River, a quick look here then down the road and into the sunshine of West Bay for morning tea. We spotted a few large eels lurking by the jetty, enough to quash any thoughts of a chilly dip in the lake. Back into the dappled light of the bush and around the lake edge via the Peninsula Walk to Kerr Bay. We lunched in the sun at one of the picnic tables before starting on the slightly more energetic Mainland Island Loop Track. Two pulled out before this section, opting instead to wander around the village and visitor centre. Noticeable was the increase in birdsong as we wound our way up hill to eventually connect with the St Arnaud Track. A nice change from the flat walking of the morning. We arrived back at the village around 2.00pm, a quick car shuttle, the traditional coffee then home by late afternoon after a pleasantly easy day.Trampers were: Beverly Muirhead, Carole Crocker, David Nielsen, Jim Maxwell, Ross Price, Trish Bennett and visitor Karen Kell.17-18 May 2008 Gordons Pyramid / Gridiron Shelters Organiser: Uta Purcell This roundtrip we approached from the alpine ridge of Mt Arthur. In good weather it brings out a lot of Nelson’s outdoor people and every bunk space at Salisbury Lodge is occupied, the overflow moving on to Balloon Hut even at 6.00pm. The weather was stable, clear and frosty. The blanketing snow of a fortnight earlier had completely gone. At 9.00am at Flora car park we were not the earliest group to set off. From the Arthur Hut we enjoyed the first distant views as far as Mt Tapi. Puffing up the Arthur Ridge to our turn off seemed quick. From the ridge we could take in our destination, the Tablelands and Salisbury Lodge, surrounded by peaks. Dropping down into the Karst Basin, skirting the base of Mt Arthur and gradually gaining height on Gordon’s Pyramid seemed to take us to the heart of this landscape. On a north facing slope and out of the wind we enjoyed our lunch and lingered to contemplate four vapour trails in the sky, two running parallel until one suddenly swerved. After the top of the Pyramid it is quite a steep downward clamber through bush riddled with sinkholes. After a good six hours we reached Salisbury Lodge and settled in. Everyone appeared comfortable and content. Some “still young at hearts” had card games going. Mist came down but the sky next morning was clear. An early side trip to Balloon Hut for a view down to Lake Peel beckoned four of us. The sunrise over mist filled valleys, surrounded by clear peaks, and deep golden Tableland tussock glittering with frost, made us appreciate this beautiful landscape even more. We returned to the Flora Car Park as two groups, each taking in all the Rock Shelters along the way and recounting history. At the Flora Hut we caught up with each other and mid-afternoon we departed from the car park for home.Feeling quite rewarded by such a good weekend were: Merrick Mitchell, Grahame Harris, Bob Janssen, Pat Holland, Uta Purcell and visitors Ray Caird and Glenda Fortune, a member of the Hagley Tramping Club, Christchurch.25 May 2008 Stillwell Bay and beyond Organiser: Katie Cloughley The Abel Tasman Park put on its finest early winter face for our party of ten trampers. The well groomed trail, and the perfect windless weather, meant easy progress around the coast from Marahau. One of the party decided to stay put at Apple Tree bay and rejoined the group later back at Marahau. Yellow Point was mooted as a possible lunch destination, but was declared “too shady” so it was on to Akerston Bay, where an indolent hour was spent reclining on the beach in the sunshine. (At the opposite end to the dead pig!) The return walk was a pleasant repeat of the morning exercise.Hot drinks at the art gallery/café rounded off a perfect day for members Grahame Harris, David Neilson, Jim Maxwell, Willy Stewart, Karen Wardell, Maurice and Katie Cloughly (scribe). Visitors were Sandra Lawn, Jo Higgs and Karen Kell.25 May 2008 Blue Glen Trig / Trig G Organiser: David Blunt From the main drag through Golden Downs we drove up the Motueka River on Blue Glen Rd. Public easement closed I learnt, apparently never reopened after logging years ago – bit of a cheek really. However permission is obtainable for upright citizens like members of NTC. Once on foot we leapt across the narrow Blue Glen Creek and climbed via the forestry road to a skid site on the ridge separating Blue Glen Creek from the Motueka Gorge. From there upwards SSE on the ridge, nowhere near as clear as my map indicated. We walked in the footsteps of the Tuesday group. And jolly fine footsteps they were too, especially since they were accompanied by clippings through the scrub in places and embellished by some plastic bag markers. We added markers too, 20 or 30 of them, but our purpose was less altruistic – we wanted only to follow them down. By spot height 1232 m it was open country and we could see our quarry, Blue Glen Trig, unflatteringly simply called “G” on the map. Now into a spot of native beech for a change and we were horrified to see no understory plants and in places the ground ploughed by pigs as far as you could see through the trees. Soon we were at the summit (1377 m) only five minutes late for lunch. Weather glorious, sun warm, wind absent and view 360 degrees. A perfunctory glance was made further along the ridge towards Beeby’s Bush. Then we retraced our steps commenting on the likely passability of the route in five years’ time. At the cars just after 3.00pm, and home at a very civilized hour. So thanks to David, the Tuesday group and Hughie for a very nice day. Pity more did not come to enjoy it. Party: David Blunt, Dan McGuire (both ex Tuesday group), Jocelyn Winn, Tom Brown, Margot Syms (scribe) and visitor Lenika Onderwater.1 June 2008 Penzance – Elaine Bay Organiser: Grahame Harris for Jim Maxwell Party: Karen Wardell, Dan McGuire, Beverley Muirhead, John Faber, Grahame Harris.  Arrived at Penzance at 9.30 am and tackled the uphill service road first. Morning tea at a clearing with views back to Tuna Bay, then down to Elaine Bay for lunch. The hills above Elaine Bay and the first part of the coastal track have been logged and they are bare and stark. Then into the native bush back to Penzance after six hours. Weather stayed fine until we just arrived back in Nelson. Pleasant trip with no special features or events. 31 May-2 June 2008 Carroll Hut, Kelly Range, Arthurs Pass Organisers: Mike & Deidre Glover After meeting at Kelly’s Creek car park we started a steep climb up a bushy ridge to the bush edge. From there it was about half an hour to the hut. We were lucky enough to get some views back towards Arthur’s Pass and the viaduct but by the time we got to the hut it was really foggy. The next day we got hut-bound because it was all foggy and rained throughout the day. After lunch we went to the tarns by compass and saw a little bit of sun. After being stuck in the hut all day some of the adults got cabin fever so they ate a lot of food. Monday was a chilly morning but clear so we went up Kelly’s Hill for a look around in fresh snow. While we were climbing we saw a Brocken Spectre which appears when the sun shines behind a tramper who is looking down from a ridge into mist. We were back down at the car park by 3.00 pm.On the trip were: Dion Pont, Ruth Hesselyn, Mike Drake, Mike, Deirdre, Wade (scribe), Alice and Chelsea Glover, and visitor Ray Caird. 8 June 2008 Brook Sanctuary Organiser: Arthur Jonas This trip took us along virtually the whole length of the Brook Valley, above the lower dam. New territory for most. After an initial couple of climbs to reach an appropriate spur there was a long sidle, roughly along the 400 metre contour, on the true left of the Brook Stream, to the base of the spur leading to Third House. The route was along a new track; one of several cut to give access to the interior of the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary, and was at times rather precarious. However there were no problems - apart from the threatened mutiny resulting from the organiser’s choice of lunch spot! Finally we climbed to Third House and walked back to the Brook down the Dun Line. Sixteen people did the trip: Arthur Jonas, Tom Brown, Tony Haddon, Ruth Henry, Yvonne Kyle, Merrick Mitchell, Margaret Page, Uta Purcell, Gretchen Williams and visitors, Anne Kolless, Youngju, Ronni Symon, Lenika Onderwater, Ray Caird, Mark and Nolene Tullet.7-8 June 2008 Lake Man Biv, Lewis Pass Organiser: Dion Pont Due to the bad forecast we decided against going to Lake Man Bivvy and headed to the Nina Hut instead. We left our cars at the old Deer Stalker’s hut and crossed to the other side of the road to the start of the track. First we crossed the Boyle River swing bridge, and headed up the very scenic valley in the rain. After having wet cold feet all week before this trip, Dion promised me that I wouldn’t get wet feet again, but sure enough my feet were wet by the time I got to the hut. The hut is quite new and was really nice and warm and sits in a clearing which gives good views. Just as I went to bed it started to snow. The next day there was snow on the ground but not a cloud in the sky. It took a long time to walk out because every one was taking photos of the snow in the trees. On the trip were: Dion Pont, Mike, Deirdre, Wade (scribe), Alice and Chelsea Glover, and visitor George Micet. 14 June 2008 Beebys Knob Organiser: Gretchen Williams Participants – John Faber, Grahame Harris, Jocelyn Winn, Bob Janssen, Beverley Muirhead, Gretchen Williams, Merrick Mitchell, Trish Bennett. Visitors – Mike & Sue Locke, Elaine Shields, Maree Greeks.The weather was better than everyone thought it might be and the predicted showers didn’t eventuate. It was a nice walk through the bush and a pleasant but chillier walk with views along the road to the Knob and then down to the hut for lunch. The mist came in after lunch. Three people went down via the 4WD road while the rest returned through the bush. 14-15 June 2008 Wainui Bay, Separation Point Circuit Organiser: Margot Syms Winter is the time for Nelsonians to visit Abel Tasman, but the days are short. To start from Golden Bay an overnight stay beforehand is called for, and to make the journey more worthwhile we started with a Saturday afternoon visit to Rawhiti Cave (formerly Mansons Cave). A brisk half hour walk gets you to the entrance of a wide, shallow cave with a wealth of stalactite formations. Many of the larger ones near the mouth are bending outwards towards the light. Next morning “the enthusiasts” drove off in drizzle from two wee cabins at Pohara Camp, and transferred to legs at Wainui Bay. Despite there now being no precipitation Ruth had her lime green umbrella up and David his new purple parka on. Fashion statements? The uphill grade soon put an end to that nonsense. At the first saddle we were so enjoying the climbing that we decided to reverse the trip and ascend Gibbs Hill immediately, with the possibility that we might also be thankful for this decision later in the day. On the summit we were in fog, but morning tea and positive thinking saw that come and go with cameras clicking in sync. As we descended towards Totaranui, being very careful not to measure our lengths on the slick clay track, we started to get some clear coastal views. The vegetation had been Kanuka with gorse regenerating into native bush, then suddenly on the Anapai Bay track we were in a little valley of mature native forest with giant Rata, Nikaus and other delights. We emerged onto the beach at Anapai Bay in lovely sunshine, with stunning rock formations and golden granite sands. Only a snack was permitted and we continued on to Mutton Cove where long suffering (in silence) Uta was finally allowed to have her lunch. Separation Point could not be missed, and we could smell the sea life before we could see it. Mainly Spotted Shags and seals – one lying on its back, sunning its belly did not take umbrage at David sneaking up for a snap. Our last stop was the old Whariwharangi homestead, now a DoC hut, then back to our “good decision” saddle, and down to the car by 4.00pm.While all this was going on the “rehab party” enjoyed a more leisurely start with breakfast in bed, then did some long beach walks among the bird life (winged). An excursion to the nearby Grove Scenic Reserve, a little oasis with spectacular limestone formations, more huge Rata and Nikaus, was made before fitting in a coffee at the café.Enthusiasts: Uta Purcell, Ruth Hesselyn, David Blunt, Margot Syms; and Peter Syms (Rehab).