Trip Reports

17-20 December 2004 - Hellfire/Misery (with alterations). Organiser: Ruth Hesselyn

As predicted, the atmosphere was a little miserable as we watched the rain from St Arnauds coffee shop. My last minute decision to sneak up Hellfire Creek in a possible weather break hadn't panned out! So, plan B was put in place. To meet in two days time for a trip up Lees Creek and return via the Mangerton Ridge. In the meantime, Pam (a friend from Dunedin) opted to visit Cupola Hut and Dion made a four wheel drive detour via Hanmer Springs. The rest of us returned to home duties.

10am Sunday morning saw the same eight, plus one small dog meet at Six Mile Creek. Strangely, I was greeted with yuk, horror, look at those shorts! I hadn't realised my American styled red, white and blue outfit would get such a reaction!

Travel up Lees Creek was initially slowed by numerous detours over and under windfalls then it was easy going on a well-formed track to the hut. From here it was another two hours, initially on a rough track then over open river flats to our campsite. My visions of it being bathed in sunshine and carpeted with flowers (as in the previous visit) were shattered by the reality of a snow covered spot, overhung with dripping branches. Oh well, once the tents were up, a fire started and a fly hung over the seating area, it was almost cosy. Then the indulgences started. There were marshmallow santas, chocolate truffles, sweets and biscuits galore, plus a dessert of steam pudding, ice-cream and chocolate mousse flavoured with Baileys. But then, it was nearly Christmas and a white one at that. It was still snowing as we wobbled off to bed.

The following morning, we awoke to brilliant clear skies so there was no turning back! The climbing started straight away and we were soon into snow-covered scrub and tussock, quite hard going for a while. But, there were enough step plodders in the group (namely Dion, Ian and Mike) to make it easier for the rest of us. We reached the saddle around midday, a quick pause to capture the views on camera, then it was a rapid descent down a 1000m snow and scree slide to the bush line. Next, a spot of bush bashing took us to Lees Creek where we enjoyed a cup of tea and a late lunch by the river. Another two hours of walking, or thereabouts, saw us back at the cars and homeward bound. Thanks to the following for their good-humoured company.

Carole Crocker, Dion Pont, Grahame Harris, Ian Pavitt, Mike Drake, Pam Mckelvey (visitor), Uta Purcell and Skye Hesselyn.
19 December 2004 - Tapawera Xmas Walk/Picnic. Organiser: David Blunt

After a day or two of unseasonably cold weather with snow on the ranges, it dawned clear for the Xmas picnic at Tapawera where about 2 dozen of us arrived mid morning at the village. Here we were met by well known local identity, Harry Hancock, and after introductions were led up the bush track in the Shedwood Conservation area behind the village. This is a little scenic gem with some large matai and kahikateas which seems to get little or no publicity. It ends at a lookout point which gives excellent views over the Motueka and Tadmor Valleys and across to the Mt Arthur range. After stopping here for a rest it was then back down an open grassy ridge to the carpark off Rata St, the round trip taking about 2 hours.

We then collected Carl & Sue Horn and proceeded down the Tapawera - Baton road to Harry's farm at Glenrae. A short drive through the paddocks brought us to a man-made lake with a lovingly restored hut on its edge. This was in fact the original Luna hut which had recently been transported by helicopter and truck from alongside the Upper Karamea river below the Wangapeka track. It was to have been demolished by DOC but through the efforts of the Hancock family and friends it has now been preserved in an idyllic spot where we were fortunate to enjoy a picnic lunch in near perfect conditions. Afterwards we were given a rundown on its history by Harry who then donned a Santa hat and distributed the Xmas presents. A circumnavigation of the lake and a spot of canoeing concluded a successful day.

On the picnic: Alison & David Nicoll, Christine & Dale Hoy, Carl & Sue Horn, Sarah & Olivia Simmonds, Brenda & Shelley Sinclair, Alice Patterson, Lindsay Twiname, Mary Honey, Mary Hsu, Yukari, John Liell, Karen Wardell, Stuart Slack, John Lammin, Sharon Foga, Mark Stevens, Tony Haddon, and trip organiser David Blunt.

9 January 2005 - St Arnaud Tracks. Cancelled due to dodgy weather.

9 January 2005 - Blue Creek. Cancelled due to weather conditions.
15-16 January 2005 - Downie Hut. Organiser: Grahame Harris

After we failed to meet a prospective new tramper due to a communication failure, twelve people eventually set forth in three vehicles to the car park in the colossal dairying empire at the foot of the Tutaki valley. Pollution appeared to have been diminished a little since our last visit there. On a day when temperatures reached 27 o in Nelson, we plodded up the valley - first across the farm, then through trees, then across open grassy areas with occasional stretches of forest - in bright sunshine and temperatures that must have exceeded Nelson's. Frequent views of the Matakitaki River, surrounding hills, and Faerie Queen way at the head of the valley gave a scenic excursion. The track is an old farm road for the most part, although disused and rather muddy in places, fairly flat, and provided easy access to the Hut by mid-afternoon. One person chose to sleep in the hut, which has been partially renovated some time since 1990, while the rest camped near it in the long grass, or under the trees. The early arrival and long fine evening allowed plenty of time for social chat. The next day was the same in reverse, and an early start got us most of the way out before the heat of another fine day really hit. We then returned home via the scenic Braemar Road leading back to Rotoroa. The trip seemed to be enjoyed by all, despite a couple of problems with blisters.

Party: Grahame Harris, Bob Janssen, Ross Price, Uta Purcell, Silja Bar, Christine Hoy, Dion Pont, Barry Pont, Noel File, Roger Bruce, Norm Lovelock, Lindsay Twiname.
16 January 2005 - Crusader. Organiser: Tony Haddon

Veeerrry hot day. 8 starters, 6 summiteers. Large falling rock on way up and large falling rock on way down. Particularly itchy and scratchy undergrowth. Two chamois on top. Two pairs of shorts written off. One pair of shorts badly damaged. One ancient track re-discovered. Back at the cars at dusk. Lots of large buzzing bright green beetles. Bedraggled happy people: Alison Nicoll, Gretchen Williams, Brian McLean, Jim Maxwell, Mark Graesser, Andy Clark, Ian Roberts (Auckland TC guest) and Tony Haddon .
22 & 23 January 2005 - Salisbury Lodge/Mt Arthur. Organiser: Uta Purcell

"Rain to reach Kahurangi by late morning Saturday and rain on Sunday!" With that prediction the following trampers sat off for the Tablelands: Mark Graesser, Grahame Harris, Rosemary McCallum, Cathy Worthy, Andy Clark and Nicola, and Uta Purcell.

To give us a chance of views and success, we did Sunday's programme in reverse on Saturday. The odd cloud provided us with welcome shade as we turned off the Arthur Ridge towards the Pyramid. Down and up repeated for a number of times, we crossed the open limestone landscape that displayed the mountain herbfield with all its flowers at its best. The one little waterhole proved useful when Grahame stood in it to soften his stiff boots. Some of us went directly to Salisbury Lodge (nobody else there), others meandered through the poled route of the potholes to the hut. A fascinating side trip - just like the next side trip, which took us between 5 and 7pm across the Tablelands to Balloon Hut and back. Miraculously the weather had been good for the whole day. Without too much effort our group, ranging from 12 years of age to those still in their 7th decade, had accomplished and enjoyed a full programme. Throughout the tramp we pondered the natural and man-made changes in this area full of history. What did it matter that we had to wear raingear on the way out along the Flora track? It got us so hot, that we felt this Sunday, 23 January 05, could have been mistaken for a summer's day!
30 January 2005 - Marsden Valley Bush Tracks. Organiser: Robyn Walsh

Eleven people were set to do the walk on the scheduled 23 January, but with my usual obligatory low cloud and drizzle, the walk was called off. 30 January was really nice but due to the date change, regretfully five were unable to come.

First we met up in Songer St at 10am then in two cars headed up Marsden Valley Road parking at the War Memorial. From here we walked up the road climbing quite steeply in short bursts as the valley closed in. At the road-end and around a corner is a small weir, with water cascading down the spillway. We crossed the stream then a brief steep climb on to the ridge. Turned right here (not ascending the Scout Track this trip) following the narrow track through strong kanuka trees down to stream level. There were some fine looking native fuchsia trees in here too. The bark on these trees makes them really stand out. Further along, the track flattened although we were well above the valley floor. Evidence here of track, weed and vine clearance done very recently. Then briefly into some pines before descending treeless Barnicoat Walkway and back on to the road. We got gack to the cars at 11.50am where we had a sit in the shade and a chat.

Prior to lunch, we entered the bush behind us to follow the loop track for 20 minutes until we reached a small clearing where we had our lunch with a view over to Devil's Thumb. Whilst we were here Lesley showed us some photos of her recent wedding. We headed off back to the cars arriving back at 1.35pm. A little white rabbit was hopping about a few yards away - somebody's pet escaped?

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed this little Sunday interlude even though it was short. On the walk were: Brenda and Shelley Sinclair, Lesley Holmwood (nee Spedding), John Olykan, Ken Holmes and Bridie, and Robyn Walsh.
29-31 January 2005 - Mt Travers/Upper Travers Hut. Organiser: David Blunt.

The Anniversary weekend trip was rescheduled from one which was cancelled 12 months earlier due to bad weather. There were no such worries this time with warm settled conditions and after a slightly delayed start from the Richmond carpark (as a result of one of the vehicles in the party being stopped on the Stoke bypass for exceeding the speed limit), everyone duly arrived at Lake Rotoiti at the appointed time bound for John Tait hut in the Travers Valley.

Not everyone elected to take the water taxi to the head of the lake with Uta and Jocelyn preferring to walk around it and Mike, Mark & Ian deciding to go via Mt Robert, Angelus and Cascade Creek. For the main group however it was a pleasant 4.5hr tramp up the valley to the hut where tents were pitched nearby. It was anticipated that the three taking the high route would be in between 6 & 7pm but it was much later than that before they eventually showed up looking and feeling somewhat weary.

Next morning saw a 7 o'clock start with all the group, except Barry, Heather, Marcus & Greg, heading up the valley to Summit Creek en route to Mt Travers, the second highest peak in the Park. There is no defined route up Summit Creek but the true left bank offers the best going where the bush is more open. The creek was crossed opposite a prominent avalanche shute where a stop was made to refill water bottles and for Mark to do a disappearing act and try out a different route.

After another 20 minutes or so in the bush above the creek there was some sidling on snowgrass before getting onto the scree and rock with the route leading up a gully to the left in which there was a small waterfall. Above the gully in the upper basin there were still large patches of snow but these were able to be skirted around by getting on to the ridge to the right.

The summit ridge was reached just after midday to the relief and satisfaction of all 19 in the party whose efforts were rewarded with mountain views in all directions and one straight down onto the new Upper Travers hut.

After a lengthy stop for lunch and photos it was back down the scree and rock slopes in very warm conditions to Summit Creek and a return to John Tait hut.

The third day saw everyone depart in small groups back to the Lake and water taxi to conclude a successful weekend's tramp.

Participants were :- Mike Drake, Heather Spence, Jocelyn Winn, Mark Stevens, Mark Graesser, Christine Hoy, Yvonne Kyle, Adam Womersley, Tony Haddon, Gretchen Williams, Uta Purcell, Grahame Harris, Barry & Dion Pont, Lindsay Twiname, Ian Pavitt, David Blunt, Margot & Peter Syms, Marcus Hopkinson & Greg Symes. Leigh Halkett & Leif joined in for the Mt Travers climb.
6 February 2005 - Maitai Caves. Organiser: Robyn Walsh (for Ted Brooks)

Ted was not going to be in Nelson this week, so I agreed to lead this tramp for him. Just a small group of six met at 9am at the Church Steps on this Waitangi Day morning. In two cars we arrived at the Maitai Dam road-end. The group posed for a photo then we headed back along the road, crossed the Maitai on the Caretaker's Bridge to walk along the Water Intake Loop Track. The day didn't seem too hot yet with the odd cloud patch dimming the sun, but it wasn't long before we all started to feel the heat even inside the bush. Humid too. The group really enjoyed the bush and were very interested to know the names of a few of the many bush and tree varieties in the forest.

At 10.40am, after a pleasant amble, we arrived at the traditional morning tea stop where the track branches to the Dun. After consuming our snacks, we carried on in the barren rocky mineral belt beside Schlanders Creek, then back into more lush forest with occasional good views down to the river. We saw the odd wasp and one nest only, which wasn't too bad. We passed many huge majestic trees along the way and as the track began veering left up the hill towards the caves, there were some very good track markers pointing us in the right direction, also indicating the other possibilities up here. Just before we arrived at the cave entrance at 12pm, taking a wrong zig zag had us face to face briefly with several stinging nettle plants.

Before lunch we had a quick look just inside the cave entrance but only Steven, the geologist, went right down to the cave floor to try and find out where the sound of the underground river was really coming from. We had lunch

near the cave entrance with a much needed breeze. Steven spent most of his lunch drawing a diagram on how rocks are formed below the earth's crust!

We packed up and began the return at 12.50pm taking only 30 minutes to arrive back at the morning tea place. A 15 minute stop here for refreshments and to enjoy the cooling sound of the river as it was now very hot again. We continued on, staying on the true left of the river hoping for more shade here than along the road as by now out in the sun it was really hot. We had only a few shade patches but we also had a nice strong breeze. We arrived back at the cars at 2.35pm. All agreed it was quite an oustanding walk and a magical day. On the walk were: Joe and Marilyn Gibbons (ex Tulsa and Perth), Ruth and Tony Draaijer, Steven White, Robyn Walsh.
6 February 2005 - Roding River Mines. Organiser: Grahame Harris

Fifteen people assembled at the Roding River carpark, and after signing in, set off toward the Champion Mine. This was a reversal of the usual route at the suggestion of the caretaker, as it would enable us to climb the ridge on the shady side - a champion suggestion. A short way in we dropped down to the river and started to ascend the steep incline towards the old tramline track. About a third of the way up, the three leaders disturbed a wasp nest, and the rest copped it. The cry was "run", and on the uphill this soon raised some pulse rates and temperatures. The last three managed to stay back and find a way around, but the rest all received a couple of stings. So ended the day's excitement. After a bit of a rest we continued around to the site of the Champion Mine, with a few doing a little exploration on the other side of the river, and then two members turned back. The rest of us climbed the 500m in the shade of the trees with lunch at the top. Then it was out into the sun following a scungy track down the other side past the Union Mine to the stream where a few members were enticed by a nice pool to cool off. It was then an uneventful trip back past the old Smelter to the cars.

Party: Uta Purcell, David Nielsen, Andy Clark (who arrived over the Barnicoat by pushbike), Silja Bar, Arthur Jonas, Dan McGuire, Margaret Page, Trish Bennett, Trudi Knighton, Jim Maxwell, Dion Pont, Alison Nicoll, Christine Hoy.
18-20 February 2005 (rescheduled) Mt Tapuae-o-uenuku Organiser: Tony Haddon

Mt Tapuae-o-uenuku rears its noble head 9,467 feet above sea level and has been climbed once more by a party of Nelson Tramping Club members exactly 81 years since an Awatere Rugby Club party of six summited. Their climb was reported in the Marlborough Express on 19 February 1924, under the headline "Noble Peak Conquered". The weather then was icy and heavy frosts reported in the Hodder and Shin valleys. The 2005 climb was in clear mild conditions making the many river crossings a cool relief on our hot feet.

Our party consisted of Tony Haddon, Andy Clark, Gretchen Williams, Alice Patterson and Alison Nicoll (scribe). As reported in 1924, climbing Mt Tapuae-o-uenuku is an undertaking demanding a considerable amount of daring and much strength and endurance and we were all very satisfied to have achieved the top. Alison was particularly pleased with her performance as for some years it had been her ambition to climb this peak growing up in the Awatere valley dominated by the mountain and regarded it as "her" mountain. To achieve this in her 64 th year was very pleasing and the result of much preparation. The route chosen was up the Alarm saddle with a side crossing below and in front of the buttress. The group spent about 2 hours enjoying the view in the perfect warm conditions on the top.

Highlights include: Sleeping in the hay and on the back of a large truck in the barn on Thursday night; having the Murray Adrian Hut for our exclusive use; enjoying good company, weather and scenery; surviving intact after the many steep and moving rocky crossings; immersing ourselves in the Hodder at the end of the tramp.

Who left their sleeping bag behind and took a double duvet instead?
Who left their food behind?
Who took enough food for us all?
Who packed a sarong?
Who didn't do any of these things?