Trip Reports

23 - 25 April 2005 - Cannibal Gorge/Gloriana Organiser: Ruth Hesselyn

Saturday morning saw a party of five meeting with one Dunedinite visitor (a possible future N.T.C. member?) at the Maruia Hotel. We piled into one car to be dropped off at the end of the St. James Walkway, then Mike took the car back to the hotel for safekeeping and heroically biked back amidst cold and rainy conditions. Rain persisted all the way up the beautiful Cannibal Gorge track. Plans to camp by tarns above the bushline, so as to get a head start on Gloriana, were reluctantly (mostly) abandoned because of the weather so a retreat was made to the cosy Ada Pass hut. Ruth camped out to harden herself up. Ankle deep snow overnight was a surprise and, once again, forced a change of plans. Gloriana with fresh snow and dubious weather was obviously not on.

The Zampa ridge behind the hut seemed like a nice compromise so we headed up there, aiming to follow the ridge along to tarns. It looked promising for a while with great views over toward our original destination but strong winds, spindrift and deteriorating conditions meant a decision was made for a quick descent to the valley; this time by another ridge for variation. If anyone finds pieces of walking poles and a water bottle, they’re Dion’s. A short walk downstream found us at the Cannibal Gorge Hut by mid afternoon.

Various excitements filled in the rest of the day. Mark’s photographic pursuits took so long he almost had two rescuers. Dinner (thanks to our cook Ian) was once again superb. It was a draw with the ongoing, vocal Euchre battle, greatly assisted by Mike’s lucky heirloom card pack.

The next morning was a fast trip out to the road where Mike donned his biking gear and retrieved the car. This time it didn’t take as long (downhill). Five people, Ruth Hesselyn, Dion Pont, Mark Stevens, Ian Pavitt and Mike Drake headed north; and one, Pam McKelvey (scribe), took off for the south.

1 May 2005 – Takaka Hill Walkway. Organiser: Gavin Holmwood

We left Stoke at 0900 and made our way in a convoy of 2 cars on a lovely sunny Nelson day to Takaka. The Takaka Hill Walkway is on the private property of the Harwood Family. The terrain is a mixture of marble rocks, native forest and shrublands. The beginning of the track is a little hilly, but as it was at the beginning of the walk it posed no threat to our spirits or strength. The views from the higher points are spectacular to say the least. We separated into 2 groups for a while but got back together after lunch stops. Young Sean then boldly lead us back to the cars. Everyone seemed to enjoy their day – even if we took longer than expected – the weather was clear and the company friendly. A stop in Motueka for coffee on the way home provided the perfect ending to our day.

Party: David, Francis, Sean and Hazel Rae, Gavin & Lesley Holmwood, and visitors Joe Carson, Lyn Davies and Helen Lynch.

1 May 2005 – Mt Robert/Speargrass. Organiser: David Nielsen

When I rang DOC on Saturday morning for a weather update, I was told of forecast high cloud, 40km winds and snow along Robert Ridge. Well, no high cloud, just low cloud over the lake and a gentle breeze on top, with no snow. The good “warm up” up the Pinchgut saw two people decide to drop off at Flagstaff hill and return via Bushline Hut. For the rest, after reaching Julius Summit, we had lunch with excellent views all round. From the summit, it was straight down a scree slope (yeeha!) to Speargrass Hut. Two non-members, Pippa and her son John, were faithfully following the leader through a swampy part of the track and found themselves knee-deep (oops, help, laughter), with the leader only finding it ankle-deep…

Party: Grahame Harris, Margot & Peter Syms, Yvonne Kyle, Arthur Jonas, Dan McGuire, Christine Hoy, Susan Ledingham, John Lammin, and visitors Pippa and John Harrison, Adam Walesley, and organiser David Nielsen.

7-8 May 2005 – Fenella Hut/Cobb Valley. Organiser: Grahame Harris.

On Saturday we started walking just after 10am and reached Fenella Hut mid-afternoon. Two people pitched tents because there were others at the Hut, then six of us set off for the saddle above the Waingaro valley. By this time there was a cold wind. Two turned back and four continued to the top of Waingaro Peak, arriving back at the hut before 6pm. By this time the hut was roasting hot. An evening spent in conversation terminated around 8.30pm. It rained during the night, and was still drizzling in the morning, but with promise of clearing so we waited. About 9.45 the sun came out, so three headed down valley while six set out to take in the circuit of the swimming hole and rock garden. As we reached the open ridge, the sun disappeared and it started to snow. So it continued off-and-on until lunch at Chaffeys Hut. Then it cleared but remained cloudy and cool until we reached the cars and headed for home some time after 3pm. Not the greatest of weather, but nevertheless seemed to be enjoyed by all.

Party: Grahame Harris, Ross Price, Uta Purcell, Kathy Harrison, visitors Sally Thomson, Trudy Knighton, Marguerite Verheul, and out of the woodwork Dave Familton and Shirley Gabrielsen - good to see you back.

7-8 May 2005 – Captain Creek Hut. Cancelled.

14-15 May 2005 - Parapara Peak. Organiser: Jim Maxwell

A party of five set out on the Saturday morning with a gloomy forecast to find weather on the other side of the Takaka Hill impeccably clear. Just nice and cool enough at this season to make the longish ascent through bush pleasantly agreeable. At 1,252m this hill only barely sticks its noggin above the bush line so it meant views were elusive till the last 20 metres or so from the top. Our party had an easy ramble up the ridge assailed by hook grass on occasions. Part of the route wanders up a small gorgey creek bed for a few 100 metres, which could be interesting in heavy rain. Lots of fantails, robins and bellbirds to keep us company on the trip up. With such fine weather there was a general enthusiasm to push on to the summit for the views that very day. Poor Jim however was having an off day, and so sent the remainder of the party on to the summit with his blessing. He set about making a comfortable camp on the ridgeline at around 850m above Break-me-up Creek.

Murphy’s Law determined the ridge top to the summit to be immersed in intermittent misty cloud, which occluded views to the West. A short distance south along the summit ridge was a very pleasant 2 bunk hut, a private one by the looks with a small tarn nearby.

Nice views to the east were had all the same, including the spectacular arc of Farewell Spit, with Mt Taranaki’s snow clad summit a majestic silhouette on the horizon. We wandered down to reach the campsite again just on dark. Good, tannin coloured water is available just 50 metres or so down the gully north of the campsite, even in our dry conditions.

A cosy sit by a campfire and a rain free night was had with the hooting of moreporks and another strange bird call that sounded a little like frogs croaking. After an epic 13 hour sleep we all trudged down. Dion and I elected to try the old overgrown route down to the Pupu Power House, and mostly fell down it grappling with lawyer vine, bracken, cutting grass and thick tangles of windfall and small saplings. An early finish for our return to Nelson. Good company was had with Tony Haddon, Christine Hoy, Jim Maxwell, Steve McGlone (scribe) and Dion Pont comprising the party.

15 May 2005 – Barnicoat Walkway. Organiser: Silja Bar.

Six of us gathered at the top of Marsden Valley Road for a leisurely 10am start and made our way up the marked walkway - the steeper way - to the top. We went along the top to the paragliders' launching area and sat down just below the rim to have lunch in the sun and out of the wind. Some runners passed by and the jumpers started setting up for afternoon activities just as we prepared to move off down the road to the bottom. A pleasant walk with rewarding views of the City and Bay.

Party: Silja Bar, Shirley Gabrielsen, Beverly Muirhead, Grahame Harris, Trudi Knighton, and a first-time visitor.

21-22 May 2005 – Branch Creek Hut. Cancelled.

22 May 2005 – Star Hill. Organiser: Gretchen Williams.

Very early in the morning - a check on Metvuw (rain later in the day) and a quick phone call to Roger Bruce (the tops of Star Hill and Patriarch were visible) - it’s on!

About 9.30am, regrouped at the Wash Bridge, through the locked gate and slightly swollen and very stony creek. Some were lucky enough to be in ‘real’ 4WDs so were transported right to Boulder Hut to await the others who warmed up over the extra 1.5 kms. The start of the track had been well marked by Waimea a few months earlier, only one wet bottom while crossing Boulder Creek, then a good steady climb for the next two hours (for the Grade 4-ers present) – a bit longer for the rest of us.

Lunch – huddled on the top out of the very cold easterly (even Skye had her coat on). Great 360 degree views, especially of the Red Hills.

Descent – very quick and back to the vehicles by about 3.30pm (which must be later in the day because that’s when it started to rain).

The group – David Blunt, Alison Nicoll, Margot & Peter Syms, Grahame Harris, Uta Purcell, Tony Haddon, Beverley Muirhead, Shirley Gabrielsen, Mark Stevens, Margaret Page, Dave Familton, Ruth & Skye Hesselyn, Dion & Barry Pont, Christine Hoy, Alison Pickford, Norm Lovelock, Noel File, Gretchen Williams.

28 May 2005 – Northern St Arnaud Range. Cancelled due to weather.

29 May 2005 – Urban Hills. Organiser: Grahame Harris.

This was the day for 17 urbanites to check out some trails and areas which many of us had not previously been to, despite being embarrassingly close to home. The first hill to be conquered was up Mount Street, heading up a footpath behind the Rutherford Street Shell service station. We collected Jim on the way and enjoyed good views across the valley to the Port Hills (and tried to pick out Carl Horn’s house). Jim then showed the way down a back lane behind the Waimea Road motel strip, then across and up to Fairfield Park to collect Beverley. We took the Tawa Track up the Grampians to the lookout point, shedding layers of clothes in the exceptionally mild conditions. Heading south east we slithered down an enjoyably muddy bushtrack to end up in the Brook and near the start of Old Codgers track, this track leading us past the new water treatment plant, and then one more climb up to the Tantagree Saddle for lunch. At the Saddle we saw a familiar-looking car and, knowing that Mark Stevens was the organiser of a mountain bike ride in the area, some of us left some “greetings” on/around his car. (And he knew it was us!) During lunch the forecast rain decided to make a hint of an appearance resulting in several umbrellas being unfurled – providing sunshade as much as rain shelter. After lunch, Grahame unintentionally demonstrated how easy it is to pull a hamstring. Grahame hobbled bravely but no, the day was over for him, so Tony trotted out to bring his car to the roadend and to Grahame’s rescue. Walking back towards town along the Maitai, the group split, some people calling it a day and heading for home via various routes, whilst five people continued on to conquer the last planned hill: the Centre of NZ. Lovely views of course from here and we were also able to see where we had walked during the day. And we just had to head across to Walters Bluff, down the new(ish) track through the eucalypts for our reward – yes, coffees and cakes at Founders Brewery Café. The walk from here back to our cars near the Cathedral was the hardest part of the day! Many thanks to Grahame for suggesting and organising this very interesting walk, and thanks to all those who participated: Gretchen Williams, Jim Maxwell, David Blunt, Beverley Muirhead, Tony Haddon, Ian Pavitt, Shirley Gabrielsen, Ross Price, Gillian & Hec Arbuthnott, Brenda & Shelley Sinclair, Grahame Harris, Lindsay Twiname (scribe) and visitors Colin Duncan, Maggie Bingham and friend Lorraine.

4-6 June 2005 – Scheduled: Luna & Patriarch. Organiser: Ian Pavitt. The planned weekend trip to Luna and Patriarch did not proceed due to too much snow. So a substitute had to be found for this keen bunch and so it was that six pairs of clean knees were knocking on the crisp Saturday morning at the Brook motorcamp. Yes, we were going to attempt the grand traverse. Upwards we climbed towards Third House and on the track we met Tom and his dog, Edward, from DOC Picton. Tom gave us valuable advice about our planned trip. We emerged into sunshine at Third House for morning tea. Here we had our first contact for the day with a “go light” tramper. From Third House, still in fine voice, we moved on to Windy Point for lunch and our first look at the amount of snow on the mountains which we had to cross: hardly any. This buoyed the group considerably. Next stop, Rocks Hut, where we again met the “go light” guru from whom we received a real sermon on how foolish we all were to carry those huge packs. He showed us many items from cooker to sleeping bag, his whole overnight packweight, including pack, just 4kg. This sermon was much discussed by our group over the remainder of the trip, especially when buckling under our loads going uphill. I wonder if this “go light” mantra will be heard on future trips? From Rocks Hut we dropped down into the Pelorus Valley for our first night, at Middy Hut (6 bunks) - and a birthday cake dessert surprise. Next day, on a still and misty morning we started our climb from the hut, destination Mt Fell. The sign at the start of the track told us 8+ hours, so this was going to be a long climb. The good amount of bird life present along this ridge was pleasing to see and hear. Just before lunch we passed Conical Knob and came upon a water receptacle, made of tin, attached to a tree. This was placed there in 1962 by members of NTC. It is a bit rusty now but still contains water and would be a welcome drink on a hot summer trip. From here the steepness increased and rocky outcrops had to be negotiated, some with fixed-wire ropes. Unfortunately the low cloud prevented any broad vistas and a cold wind on top ensured any stops were brief. Once on the summit of Mt Fell, it was only 1 hour along and down the ridge to Mt Richmond Hut (6 bunks). Next morning, the weather fine and clear, the group split: 3 going down Timms Track to the carpark and 3 going over Mt Richmond to Top Valley Road. Transport was arranged to pick up each party at their respective carparks at 2pm – many thanks to Gail Clark and Lindsay Twiname. An enjoyable stop was had at Havelock on the way back for varying refreshments. Many thanks to: Uta Purcell, Andy Clark, Dion Pont, Mark Stevens, visitor Patrick Holland, for a most enjoyable and cheerful substitute trip.

4-6 June 2005 – Asbestos Cottage. Cancelled due to weather.

12 June 2005 – Abel Tasman Coastal Track. Organiser: Rosemary Weir.

At 10am we set off from the Marahau car park to the start of the Abel Tasman track. Our first stop was a late morning tea at Appletree Bay on a beautiful, cool, clear, sunny day. After refreshments and a chance to admire the view, we headed to Akersten Bay, a very pretty spot, where we sat in the sun on the beach for lunch. We shared the bay with a group of kayakers and a few other walkers.

On the way back we visited Sillwater Bay and then back to Appletree Bay. Another sit in the sun before walking along to the other end of the beach to the steep track up onto the main track. A group of ratas in flower with bellbirds enjoying the nectar was spotted near the track on the way back. Young Canada geese, oyster catchers, and cormorants were also spotted.

A very pleasant and sociable day was enjoyed by: John Lammin, Sharan Foga, Denis Parnell, Ken Ridley, Karen Wardell, Jim Maxwell, John Olykan, visitors Hanni Kaspar, Mura Tierney, Heidi Shirley, Barry James, Ulla Schneider, Ross Haverfield, and organiser Rosemary Weir.

12 June 2005 – Wainui Track. Organiser Christine Hoy.

A group of 12 finally arrived at the Canaan car park at about 9.20am from various points around Nelson. Bird's Clearing is, as the name suggests, a clearing situated some distance down the Wainui River and high above the Takaka Valley. The day had dawned frosty and fine which made for very pleasant conditions in the open, but a little cool in the bush. Setting off from this point, we climbed up over the Wainui Saddle and headed down the valley to the Wainui hut. Here we took a morning tea break in the sunshine after a 1 1/2 hour walk. Leaving the hut, we continued down an undulating track with two river crossings before arriving at the clearing just before 1pm. We found a sheltered spot, away from a cool wind, where we enjoyed our lunch. Clear views were obtained from here looking out over Golden Bay and beyond. Having feasted on our lunch and the views, we retraced our footsteps back up the valley, passing Wainui Hut once more, and continuing on up to Wainui Saddle for our final scroggin stop. A gentle amble back down to the car park completed what was rather a pleasant walk through mainly virgin beech forest along the banks of a meandering waterway. Thanks to all who made this excursion into the Abel Tasman National Park such a pleasant experience.

19 June 2005 – Mt Jones. Organiser: Shirley de Groot

After taking some 28 calls on the hot line, I was very relieved to see the weather improving on the day and put arrangements into action! 14 of us left from Nelson at 8am and met Barry, Steve & Christine at Tapawera. Jocelyn awaited us at Irvine’s farm with all on track, by 9.20am. Higher up the 4WD track we had morning tea at 10.30am overlooking the Wangapeka river flats and farmland. It was onwards and upwards passing through 3 rocky areas en route, stopping off at an open spot again, getting expansive views over the river, surrounding hills and mountains. After the last climb we scaled a bank to gain the track for the trig. En route, two open areas gave us views onto Patriarch and Gomorrah, we sent safe and happy climbing vibes to Ian and his party who were attacking Mt Patriarch 3 at the time. At the third open area beyond the trig, the last of the group awaited the return of the majority who had gone on further for a look-see. We all lunched here between 12.25 and 1pm. On the return we came down the valley via another 4WD track, through some rather greasy patches and on to the river flats. All back to the cars by 3pm, some indulging in ice-creams at Tapawera before heading back to Nelson. Thanks to fellow trampers for a successful and enjoyable day out: Ken Ridley, Hec & Gillian Arbuthnott, Ross Price, Arthur Jonas, Yvonne Kyle, Sarah Simmonds, Shirley Gabrielsen, Jocelyn Winn, Lindsay Twiname, Denis Parnell, visitors Ulla Schneider, Trevor Hunt, Mura, Steve & Christine Hopkins, and Barry James.

19 June 2005 - Patriarch 3. Organiser: Ian Pavitt

An early start saw us trotting away from Rolling River car park in dim conditions at 7.45am. At this stage, the rain was falling lightly on four parkas and one umbrella. As we travelled along the Wangapeka track, the rain intensified and the decision was made to cross the Wangapeka river at the swingbridge and head for Kiwi Saddle Hut for lunch. About halfway up the Kiwi track, the rain eased and by the time we reached the hut the sun was breaking through. The Kiwi track was quite boggy in places and generally could do with some work on its entire length. After a pleasantly warm and long lunch, the group retraced its steps to arrive back at the cars at 6.15pm. A long winter’s tramp. All agreed, and felt, that we had done some exercise. While we did not achieve our objective, I must thank those hardy souls for leaving their warm beds to venture forth to the cold, wet Wangapeka for this mid-winter trip. My thanks to: Mike Drake, Bob Janssen, Ruth Hesselyn, and visitor Kim Vickerman.