Trip Reports

Waikakaho-Cullens Creek, 27 August 2006. Organiser: Rosemary Weir.

Rosemary couldn’t come, so Grahame Harris stood in and arranged the parties:

Northbound: Barry Pont, Dion Pont, Beverley Muirhead, Shirley de Groot, Willi Stewart, Margaret Edwards, Shirley Gabrielsen and visitor Jenny Simmonds.

Southbound: Grahame Harris, Alison Pickford, Ruth Hesselyn, Steve Beatson and visitors Jo Kay, Fran Andrews, Susan Sinclair and Amy Tomberg.

The weather was fine but overcast all day. Skye did not come, which may have been just as well, since we met some big hunting dogs along the way; also a hunter who was bellowing as we approached and still until we were out of earshot for two missing dogs. His radio control apparatus did not seem to help. There was so much pig sign about that perhaps the pigs had cornered the dogs.

Anyway, cars were swapped at Havelock and both parties drove to their respective ends, with the Cullensville Road being disgustingly muddy and slippery. Both parties then set off uphill to the saddle but failed to meet up for lunch at the nice little site cleared once upon a time for a hut. The Waikakaho side was more time consuming, with side tracks to various old gold workings. The Cullens Creek side had to be satisfied with pictures of the once thriving village with substantial buildings at that end of the track. After an interesting and pleasant tramp both parties emerged at the end of the day and headed for home without meeting up, with the young bunch refreshing at Havelock and the more senior group feasting at Pelorus Bridge.
Grampian Tracks, 27 August 2006 . Organiser: Robyn Walsh

What a glorious day we had to explore the Grampians and what a wonderful view that greeted us as we rounded the ridge on the south side of the hill. White snow on the tops from Mt Campbell to Mt Owen, against a clear blue sky. So here we were, a fab group of 5, about to circumnavigate this city hill. Amongst us was Bob Janssen who had offered to show us some new tracks he had actually helped cut, through his work with Nelmac. How fortunate we were to have him here with his extensive knowledge of the Grampians.

We met 9.30am at the Bishopdale end. The first new track was right at the start, when Bob led the way through a gate on our left, before we set eyes on the Kahikatea Track. The new track was well manicured with a great walking surface of small grade stone. With that great view on our left we sidled over to the next gully and linked up with Fuschia Trail. Out onto the saddle and over to the viewing platform for morning tea at 10.45am. At 11.15am we were off down a zig zag track through euclypts. Not one of Bob’s tracks, it was soft slippery and steep in parts. One of the group took a quick slip and sit. We came out onto a flat farm track, then up Ronaki Track and up again on the main ridge towards the transmitter until we reached its service road. Bob took us along Kanuka Track where we could see the different stages of work done – complete, partially complete, and not yet touched. We descended through regenerating understorey to a saddle where we had lunch on a rock outcrop in the sun at 1pm.

After lunch 4 had a quick look at the pine covered hill nearby. Then back up the Kanuka Track just after 2pm. On the way we passed again a ewe with her newborn twins. One was lying downhill at a very strange angle, on top of its front leg. So Bob gave it a couple of nudges, which made it get up.

Kanuka soon became Kahikatea Track. The mature bush was a startling contrast to what we had been in most of the day. Several large matai, a huge kahikatea, pukatea, tawa and many tree ferns. Bob drew our attention to vines of our native passionfruit and its small fruits, with seeds inside, lying on the track, while Alison found one fuschia flower. All too soon we came out of the bush and back to the cars by 3.30pm. Everyone enjoyed such an interesting day, so close to town. A big thank you must go to Bob for making the day a great success, and also for the work he has done on the Grampians.

On the tramp were : Bob Janssen, Ted Brooks, Alison and David Nicolls, Robyn Walsh
Mt Dora 2-3 September 2006. Organiser: Ruth Hesselyn

Despite the forecast of gale force winds about the tops and rain at times, four optimistic hardy members were still keen to head off to the hills to explore new territory. A leisurely 8.00am departure from Richmond and we headed for Rainbow Station to collect the gate key, however the weather was not looking promising. The nearer we got to Nelson Lakes the grayer and murkier the sky became and we were supposed to be camping!

After collecting the key it was slowly and carefully up the Rainbow Road wondering if the fords and road would be negotiable without a 4WD. However, after several stops to clear rocks from the road, and one to throw rocks into a rough ford to build it up, at which point we also unloaded people and packs from the car, we made it to Island Gully corner. Well done Mark and his trusty Mitsi. By this time there was light drizzle falling and so over a pre-start cuppa the options were discussed. The soft option was to stay at Island Gully Hut which was not far away, or alternatively, to carry on as planned up the valley and camp. We were not put off that easily so it was parkas on, heads down and away by noon for a brisk walk up the valley. Two hours later, after someone took us on a shortcut which ended up being through soft snow on top of tussock on top of bog, we arrived at the proposed campsite along with strong gusty winds. With snow on the ground and no bush for shelter we set about with ice axes and pot lids, clearing a site for the tents beside a very large rock. It took the four of us to erect the first tent but there was some doubt about how long it would stay up as it was short of pegs, and the rock was not providing the shelter we had hoped for. A collapsed tent and then rain in the middle of the night was not an exciting prospect, so common sense prevailed and at that point we decided to retreat whilst we still had plenty of time. We huddled beside the rock for lunch and a hot brew then packed up and headed for the car with the thought of going to Connors Creek Hut. However, since none of us had visited Island Gully Hut, we stopped there to have a look and it was so cosy, clean and comfy looking that we decided to stay there. A great fire soon had us warmed up. This was better than shivering in the tent, wondering if it was going to blow down. Sunday morning dawned clear and calm so it was breakfast, map out and a nearby peak chosen and then we were off with Mark taking the lead, straight up the most direct route opposite the hut, and which happened to be the steepest as well with mostly soft snow and patches of loose rock. Once on the ridge it was easier going along and up the summit of Point 1834. As is often the case, although sunny, it was cool and windy on top so after the usual photo session and taking in the views we descended to a more sheltered spot for an early lunch, then found an easier and more gentle slope and were back down to the hut by 12.45pm. With plenty of time to spare, we sat in the sun and had a cuppa before packing up and walking to the car, which was only a few minutes away. A long drive back out, the obligatory coffee stop at St Arnaud and we were back in Nelson.

Although it didn’t follow Plan A, it was an enjoyable and successful weekend. Thanks to all concerned – Ruth Hesslyn, Mark (and Mitsi) Stevens, Sid Howlett and Carole Crocker.
Sunrise Ridge, 3 September 2006. Organiser: Grahame Harris

A large contingent of trampers turned out at 8.00am, being Grahame Harris (organiser), Amy Tomberg, Dan McGuire (scribe), Katie and Maurice Cloughley, Gillian Arbuthnott, Anita Robertson, John Faber, Tony Haddon (President), Gretchen Williams, John Lammin, Alison Nicoll, Jocelyn Winn, Barry James and visitor Erin Turner.

We marched from the Maitai Dam to the caves which were visited by some of us during what was otherwise a leisurely morning tea in filtered sunlight. Further along the South Maitai we climbed 500 metres to reach Sunrise Ridge in time for lunch. When we came out of the bush on to a new track formed by mountain bikers we had to backtrack to the usual track, which ends in a large clearing. A much more rapid descent of that 500 metres into the valley took us back to the Dam, to reflect on a pleasant outing. Thanks to organiser Grahame Harris.
Mt Arthur, 9 September 2006. Organiser: Jocelyn Winn

A lightly clouded morning saw our pack head off up the well-worn Mt Arthur Track. After the usual rest at the hut, we were off along the tussock ridge in a not unpleasantly cool breeze. About five kea settled on the rock nearby, allowing us to get very near them. Later, watching them soar overhead, one couldn’t help but marvel at their survival in their harsh environment. Near the Ellis Basin turnoff in a sheltered snow basin, David hoped to relocate the snow cave but its marker had disappeared. A few minutes later it was crampon time and those without, would descend to a sheltered spot for lunch. As we loitered there, a tall familiar figure strode on to the scene, it was Barry James doing his own thing but expecting to meet up with us. It was most helpful that others had been that way making a deep track through the snow, especially up the last steep step where the ken. Along the ridge the cornices were obviously poised to break off should there be enough warmth. On our return, we met a small intrepid group hoping to spend the night in a snow cave and we watched them dig, but couldn’t wait for the end result as we needed to be back at the hut in order to return with the others.

Participants were Steve Beatson, Gretchen Williams, Katy and Maurice Cloughley, Beverly Muirhead, Willie Stewart, Christine Hoy, David Blunt and joined by Barry James.

Mt Stokes, 9-10 September 2006. Cancelled
Map and Compass instruction, 16 September 2006. Organiser: Grahame Harris

6 people turned up for a very drizzly, steep, and informative day of learning how to use a map and compass. We had to take a reading to get up to a ridge. Once we got to the top of the ridge we took a reading to get to the track, walked along there for a bit then climbed up a hill. From there we had to get back down again, aiming off by 100m. Once we got down to the bottom we had a pleasant walk along the road back to the cars after a small exercise on triangulation.

The happy trampers were Grahame Harris, Andy Clark, Nicola Clark (scribe), Joseph Hippolite, Steve Beatson, and visitor Erin Turner.
Bounds (2044m), 16-17 September 2006. Organiser: Mike Drake

In the interest of providing the quota of snow trips, and with Ruth's and my imagination waning, Bounds was mentioned, noted, and the list dispatched. Grahame's craving (keep the pressure on Grahame) for a snow itinerary was fulfilled for another year. Time past by and the winter progressed; snow fell, and then more snow fell. During this time I reflected back on the steep angled west ridge (from a previous summer trip), covered in deep snow. My radar also detected an undercurrent of dissent for the “Bounds Trip” in the normally hardy group, perhaps reflecting my own thoughts. A change of plan was in order, rather than camp in a small valley (Station Creek), possibly in snow, and then proceed along a ridge, two kilometres of which are rather steep. We would approach from the east, and stay in a hut. The revised plan was marketed, and well received.

Saturday produced some rain, and we were prepared for gale force westerly winds on the tops the following day. We parked the car opposite Gosling Stream and arrived at the hut after a couple of hours. The hut is on a terrace on the true left, and can be glimpsed when emerging from the bush after navigating past a narrow part of the valley.

At daybreak on Sunday we were down in the valley boulder hopping up the stream. A recce had already identified a bypass past a waterfall; further bush bashing was required at intervals, on the true right. Above the bushline patches of snow were encountered, and then further good snow took us to an approach to the top. Ruth investigated a gully, the rest kept to the snow and attained the north ridge, ducked through a saddle and joined the normal route from the west ridge. We proceeded up the west side of the north ridge to the summit. The wind strong but nothing close to the predicted gale force strength.

The compulsory photos at the top, then down, down to the hut, a brew, then back to the car after a 12 hour day. We must have been cold that day, and our body temperature still rising as we consumed fish (very good) and chips in Havelock. We were clothed in down jackets, longs, and woolly hats, while the locals flitted in wearing shorts and tee shirts.

Thanks to the team for another very enjoyable weekend; Carole Crocker, Ruth Hesselyn, Dion Pont, Mark Stevens.
Family Group - Whispering Falls. 16 September 2006. Organiser David Rae

Fourteen people, including four families, set off around 10.30am from the Hackett car park to walk to Whispering Falls. We took our time up the valley of varying scenery - rough, open country recently replanted in pines, river, mossy bush, cool green river water, rock, and bridges then a climb to the Whispering Falls and above to a cleared area with views over valleys and hills. It was a lovely day with lots of talking, excited and happy children and walking at a leisurely pace. We returned at approximately 3pm, talked a little more then headed off home.

Trip participants were Eric, Anne, Sarah and Matthew Fritz from USA, Steve, James and Laura Renwick, Robyn Walsh, Phil and Matthew Ruffell, David, Frances, Sean and Hazel Rae
Dew Lakes , 17 September 2006. O rganiser: Uta Purcell

From the weather information available, it was decided to put this tramp forward to Saturday, that day seemed to have the better outlook. It certainly provided a pleasant day’s tramping, even if we wore raincoats at the very end. As a small group: Shirley Gabrielsen, Dan McGuire, Uta Purcell, and visitors Ann Sheridan and Martin Rutledge, we got to know each other and made a few discoveries: the Maitai Dam gate doesn’t get opened at all, Shirley spotted two Clematis, there were more signs and markers than before, the track had been recently cleared, and at a now enhanced viewpoint a small seat and hand drawn panorama display board had been installed. A volunteer’s effort? – we imagined that it had been one of our Club members. This spot, the experience of walking through the changing landscape and reaching the “Lakes” with rewarding views of the Pelorus Valley and Sounds and to Mt Fishtail were much appreciated. Except, Dan was unable to show off Mt Tapi, there was too much cloud cover. It can often be seen a few minutes along the turnoff to Maungatapu. Whereas the mighty old Rata, a few minutes on the track towards the Dun, could not be missed.
Devils Creek Hut, 24 September 2006. Organiser: Ross Price

Ross had a bad back and could not come on this trip, which left four of us to find our way up the Wakamarina track to Devil’s Creek Hut. The day was fine but cloudy for most of the time. The hut was reached about midday in time for lunch in the sun, before heading down the track to the river. Back at the hut we spent some time with Tony and Gretchen who had spent the weekend in the area, then back to the car to complete a very easy and most enjoyable trip.

Participants were: Gillian Arbuthnott, Dan McQuire, Jim Maxwell (stand in organiser, and scribe), and Karen Wardell

Tablelands Circuit, 30 September- 2 October 2006. Cancelled … weather
Mt Rintoul Hut, 7-8 October 2006. Organiser: Bob Janssen

Six fit trampers assembled early on Saturday and were taken by brave drivers up the roughest stretch of the Lee Valley . From the forestry road end it was four and a half hours of rugged up and down terrain with heavy packs, to Rintoul Hut and then after a snack straight up to the top of Mt Rintoul just in time for the descending thick cloud. After a cold but cosy night in the hut (0”C in the hut) we lugged our packs to Purple Top for great views all around to the Inland Kaikouras and other areas closer to hand. We proceeded over Bishop’s Cap back to the cars in record time.

Participants were David Blunt, Dion Pont, Dan McGuire, Bob Janssen, Uta Purcell and Mike Marren .
Mt Robert Loop, 15 October 2006 Cancelled … weather 22 Oct Trig K, Pelorus Bridge Cancelled … weather 21-23 Oct Punakaiki Cancelled … weather Off-Programme Trips

Prospect Ridge - Whisky Falls, 14 October 2006. Organiser Grahame Harris

Party: Grahame Harris, David Nielsen, Jocelyn Winn, Sid Howlett, and Tabitha Ridge
It is easier to find a route up a mountain than down one, and in this case I was unable to retrace down exactly the way I had gone up twice before, but we got there. From Mt Robert carpark we ascended to the site of the old Prospect Shelter by which time we were enveloped in cloud with limited visibility. Out over the knob and down a spur - I was feeling uncertain and about to call a retreat when the cloud cleared and we could see it was the wrong spur, but a short traverse to the correct one. Found the old route down towards the falls but could not identify markers I had left previously, so turned and went down the steep slope. It turned out we had turned too soon and made it harder than necessary. However we picked up the Lakeside Track, visited Whisky Falls, and returned to the cars. Something a bit different, possibly putting feet in places where no feet had been put before.