Trip Reports

23-25 October 2004 - 1000-acre Plateau. Cancelled due to weather conditions.

31 October 2004 - Waimea River Stopbank. Organiser: Robyn Walsh

From the original 15 the group had reduced to 9, by 9.30, due to various life dramas. So, at 9.50 we headed out under the Appleby Bridge and around up onto the stopbank. Ten minutes before morning tea our number increased to 10 by the unscheduled arrival of Don Sullivan. The morning was calm and mild but thick cloud had built up over the plain, which made our morning tea break a bit cool by the river. A few of us tried out our stone-skimming skills. John Olykan's technique made him the clear winner with most of his throws sending stones almost to the other side.

At 11.15 it was more toil back up on the levee with Ross leading at a fine pace. The cloud had now partially dispersed so it was much warmer. The trail's end was reached at 12.15 and it was here we munched into our lunches. Beverley decided that she would rather not walk back, so late-comer Don offered to steam back along the stopbank to his car and drive round to pick Beverley up, also car-driver Sharan. Don shot through at 12.40 and it took about one hour by the time he'd dropped Sharan back at her car. In the meantime the rest of us started the return walk at 1.20pm, past the apple orchards, a hop garden, and kiwifruit plus willow trees by the stopbank, all out in leaf. Arrived back at 3pm after a pleasant stroll.

Icecreams were in order on the way home, but the suggested stop at Appleby Store became Three Brothers corner as Sharan disappeared into the distance. We met up again and sat outside the store to partake in our chosen delights. After a few licks, a surprise sound from Sharan revealed she had licked her icecream off its cone, onto the table. Not to be outdone, Sharan put it back on its pedestal to carefully lick around the "contaminated" part. All seemed OK until we heard more cries of dismay. This time she'd dropped the lot - icecream and cone - on the table. Sharan wisely gave up at this point and put it in the rubbish bin. Thanks to Sharan for a few laughs to end our day together.

On the walk: John Olykan, Ross Price, Beverley Muirhead, Sharan Foga, Kazumi Yamamoto, Ana Christian, visitors Wang Li Yun from Taiwan, Rachel Cole, Don Sullivan, and organiser Robyn Walsh.
6-7 November 2004 - Sylvester Lakes. Organiser: Marianne Hermsen

We set off from the Cobb Dam carpark at about 9.30am and it was already sufficiently hot to see us hug the shade at the side of the track. A pleasant and easy 2 hour walk to Sylvester Hut where we unpacked our gear, some of us pitching our tents. As we settled in for lunch, Jim and his team arrived looking rather hot but in very jovial spirits. Their day was a bigger mission than ours so they had a hurried lunch and left us to casually sling on our day packs and set forth to conquer Iron Hill. At the large tarn at the base of Iron Hill we paused to discuss which way to climb the hill, during which time Steve decided he needed to fully test the temperature of the water and moved away to discreetly take the plunge behind a large rock. There were no screams but he assured us it was "bracing".

We climbed up through patches of soft snow and over rock to reach the more western end of Iron Hill's ridge. We then walked along the ridgeline to the east, pausing for the good photo opportunities (yes, Dave really did lie down in the snow). Back at the hut we consumed lots of water/cups of tea and applied cream to sunburn: it had been a very hot day. The weekend's newspapers were read, dinners eaten, and we all turned in for an early night.

Leader Marianne must have tempted fate because when she pitched her tent earlier in the day (she was testing a new tent) she had asked if her chosen spot was too exposed. Well, only if it was windy. And it was: the wind came up very strongly during the night and its noise meant many of us did not sleep well. Sunday dawned clear and sunny, but still very windy, and no-one felt like being energetic so the planned walk to Diamond Lake was abandoned in favour of returning to the cars and doing the Takaka Hill Walkway on the way home. Before leaving, we again admired the view: Mt Taranaki could be clearly seen, Tapuae-o-uenuku with tons of snow on it, D'Urville Island seemingly just right in front of us. As we were about to depart, we saw bright flashes from the Lockett ridge - must be the others - so we waved and, not having a mirror handy, attempted to flash back using our watch faces.

The Takaka Hill Walkway was an enjoyable 2 hour walk, but very hot. In fact we were so dehydrated we had to stop at the Naked Bun at Mapua to refresh our souls. A very pleasant weekend and many thanks to Marianne for organising it, from: Dave Familton, Beverley Muirhead, Steve McGlone, Ian Pavitt and Lindsay Twiname (scribe).
6-8 November 2004 - Sylvester/Lockett/Kill Devil. Organiser: Jim Maxwell

This trip started at the Cobb Dam and ended at Uruwhenua, a few kilometers down the road towards Takaka from the Cobb Road. We drove to Uruwhenua, parked the cars and boarded a minibus from Kbus to be driven to the Cobb Dam carpark. We were walking by 10.15am and with the sun having worked its way through the cloud, as Shirley had said it would, were sweating by the time we got to Sylvester Hut at 12.15. We had lunch with Marianne's party who were already at the hut, and then set off along the grassy spur to the ridge overlooking the Iron Lake creek.

Sitting on a lookout above Iron Lake creek we could see Lake Lockett, our destination for the day. We debated whether to use the orthodox route and approach it via Diamond Lake but nothing was to be orthodox about this trip so we followed the cairned route into the valley, crossed to the true left of the creek and keeping as far as we could to the intermittent clearings, made our way to a spur at the end of the valley which descended into Diamond Creek. An old slip, now grassed, on the true left of Diamond Creek, appeared from our earlier vantage point to give access to Lake Lockett so we sidled through fairly thick bush above the creek until we were able to descend to it, cross the creek and climb towards the Lake.

Lake Lockett looked spectacular from a couple of kilometers away. Approaching it as we did through the beech trees and tussock in the late afternoon of a sunny windless day it was breathtaking and we allowed ourselves time to appreciate it before setting up camp. A few persistent sandflies didn't detract from a very pleasant scene and a slightly extroverted resident seagull performed on the lake from time to time as we yarned away the evening.

The sky was clear in the morning but the wind had risen and yesterday's placid lake had been replaced by storm tossed white caps with miniature rollers breaking on our shore. We packed our camp and climbed through the bush to reach the scree on the eastern side of the lake. The views were somewhat fleeting as we had a torrid time in the wind that got stronger the higher we climbed. We sheltered for a while and Dion amused himself, and us, by using a mirror to signal to Sylvester Hut, just in sight. To our surprise he received a response - Marianne's party must have been just leaving.

The wind had almost died away as we reached the Lockett Range and for about an hour we strolled along the broad, level ridge, stopped for morning tea, and had wonderful views in all directions. However we then reached the bush edge and began what was for most of the rest of the day something of a struggle through mainly stunted bush with no track. In many places the definition of the ridge was hard to follow and we were very dependant on Jim's skill with the GPS to keep us in line. For the most part those leading the file looked for the easiest route, guided by directions from the compass bearers behind. The occasional clearing was sought after and clung to for as long as possible. Eventually, at about 5.15pm we reached the track, close to where it was crossed by Skeets Creek, and Riorden's Hut at 6pm.

Riorden's is a three bunk hut but most of us were content to camp anyway. Various stories had likened it to the mouse capital of New Zealand, although there was only one reported sighting. Dinner and après tramp drinks were not a long drawn out affair as most of us were quite ready to hit the sack.

Monday was again a clear day, and very warm. Conducive to a leisurely walk to the Uruwhenua road end, with a lot of stops to look back and see the route we had taken. So ended a very interesting trip with some of the regions best scenery and through an area not often visited. Participants were Jim Maxwell (organiser), Anita Robertson, Margaret Page, Shirley Gabrielsen, Yvonne Kyle, Mike Drake, Dion Pont, and Arthur Jonas (scribe).
6-7 November 2004 - Mt Mantell (private trip). Organiser: Tony Haddon

Just south of Murchison near the Matakitaki end of the Maruia Saddle road, a large orange track marker indicates the route up Mt Mantell, named after a Maori Land Court official. 10 am Saturday morning resounded to plaintive yelps as some suddenly not so enthusiastic trampers studied the height and angle of the road cutting at the foot of the track marker. The cutting was surmounted, as were all the other steep bushy bits over the course of the next few hours, uncomplainingly by all (except for one senior committee member!).

Clear skies, mild temperature and still air made for a pleasant scramble along to the trig, and great views. Large snow patches made water gathering easy, and a few blusters overnight didn't worry the tents.

Sunday dawned cloudier and cooler than it could have, precipitating a dash for sunnier places. These were not long coming and by the time the vehicles came into view most were a bit too warm.

Expedition members: Grahame Harris, Gretchen Williams, Neil Thomas, Margot & Peter Syms.
13-14 November 2004 - Robert Ridge Exploration.

This trip was cancelled because of bad weather, for the third time. It is a loser and will not be rescheduled.
14 November 2004 - Rush Pool & Dew Lakes. Organiser: Carl Horn

The weather looked reasonably okay in the morning, so the 17 of us ventured off in good spirits. But just a little after 10am we felt the first few raindrops. Ugh! By noon the rain was pelting down, and up at Dew Lakes the wind was persuading it to fly horizontally. There were a handful of respites from the drenching, during which we hoped we would get a permanent reprieve, but it was not to be. We all got wet, thoroughly wet.

Part way through the morning we realised we were actually two groups, one who were finding it a grade 1-1/2, and another who were finding it a grade 3. My impression is that it might be a grade 1 on a dry day. So we split into two groups, the A Team led by Grahame Harris, and the B Team encouraged by myself.

The B Team timed reaching its objective absolutely perfectly. As we reached the Dew Lakes, the rain stopped. We were able to enjoy our lunch and conversation with a view of the lakes and without atmospheric water making our food soggy. Then, just as we stood to start the descent, the rain started again. The cold was penetrating. Only Hec had gloves, and the rest of us envied him.

The faster group carried on to the old quarry, a clear area from where there would normally be views over the Pelorus Valley, Mt Richmond and beyond - except that the clouds cut it short about 100 metres out. They continued to the Dew Lakes but, as the rain had set in, decided to lunch at an ancient twisted rata, about 15 minutes back and off to the left. A few were able to shelter under the tree; a few sheltered under a nearby rock. The incredibly twisted tree was admired and made some think of old Chinese paintings.

For both teams it was wet, and at the top, cold. It reminded us that tramping is not all sunshine and idyllic days. But despite all that, it seems that no one regretted going. As it turned out, it was a good way to spend a day which otherwise may have been a boring Sunday at home. When I got home, soaked through and muddy, I simply stepped into the washing machine and put writing this trip report out of my mind.
The hardy bunch were: Beverley Muirhead, Dan McGuire, Ken Ridley and friend Ulla Schneider, David Nielsen, Gillian & Hec Arbuthnott, John Lammin, Grahame Harris, Kathy Harrrison, Sharan Foga, Yvonne Kyle, Arthur Jonas, Silja Bar, and visitors Patricia Kelsall, Rolly Penholl; and leader Carl Horn.
20-21 November 2004 - Ellis Basin/Twins. Organiser: Andy Clark

A compact group of 5 set off from the Baton valley to commence the good haul up to the Ellis Basin and hut. Being 20 years since the organiser had travelled by this route it didn't take long to refresh his memory with creek crossings and fixed cables aplenty. A cracking pace was set which soon settled down but still had the gravy flowing to have us at the hut in 4.5 hrs. A brew was had while Ian scanned the hut book for hints on campsites under the Twins. All information found was less than positive but onwards we went to explore this new area for all. We followed an old caver's track to the bush edge and looked with awe down some serious holes in this honeycombed area. Cairns were picked up here and there which helped with the route finding, so around 4pm the looking began for a campsite. The choice was not the best but after an hour or so the 4 tents were up after the necessary rocks were removed. Meals were cooked and eaten before the rain came with all retiring to the shelter of tents.

Morning dawned with cloud and wind on the tops so a trip up the South Twin was going to be hit or miss. We progressed on around under the Twins arriving at Paddys Ridge to be hit with the full force of the wind, so a decision was made to head along and down to the Baton Valley and leave the South Twin for another day. A great trip was had by all as this, in parts, was new country to all involved.

Our compact group were Andy Clark, Steve McGlone, Ruth Hesselyn, Ian Pavitt, Brian Renwick.
21 November 2004 - Lower Travers Circuit. Organiser: David Nielsen

Seven of us left Richmond at 7.30 am and were at Rotoiti ready just after 8.30 to be taken by Bill Butters in his boat to Coldwater Hut. Although perfectly fine, a heavy dew and a recent shower of rain, with a brisk breeze as well, made it cold enough for us to put on extra layers and coats. Inside the small cabin (knees touching!) five of us at least were snug. The water was very smooth once we were in the lee of Mt Robert and we stopped talking about putting on our life jackets!

The sandflies recognised a meal as soon as we landed, insect repellant came out and layers were packed away again. The start to the tramp was delightful, walking beside the Coldwater Stream, through patches of bush and out again into meadows. The water was very clear, no snow melt colouring apparent, with lots of 'white water' and running very fast. We couldn't quite last out to the Travers Swing Bridge to have morning tea and found a stone beach just short of the first fixed bridge to refuel.

Only a short section then until the southern most point of the day and as it was one at a time, it was about 11.15 by the time we were all over on the true right bank. And then there were eight! A familiar figure came into sight, recognisable as Club member Jocelyn Winn. She had decided to do a solo walk up the west side of the Lake and caught us up. Next stop Lakehead Hut for lunch and the verandah provided a welcome choice of sun or shade and shelter from the breeze off the Lake. Paradise ducks were around and although the grassy flats are obviously a lot wetter than the African tundra, the resemblance made us feel that a lion or zebra could wander up. The bleached tree stumps are a feature of this landscape too, a legacy of the clearance to make grazing pasture in the days of the early runholders. Through the whole of this morning and early afternoon, mountain vistas around every corner had the cameras clicking. With a garnish of snow, the peaks looked spectacular and made us dream of longer and harder treks.

By 1.30 we were all on our way again. This is really 'A grade' tramping for relaxation and enjoyment! The path undulated up and over bluffs, so that almost without noticing you found yourself looking down quite a distance through the trees to the water, then quickly you are at lake level again, passing the many enticing beaches. Shingle fans were a feature of this section too, brilliant red lichen on the rocks, streams tumbling down to test how waterproof your boots were and mountain fresh for topping up water bottles. Several of us admitted to feeling tired during the last hour, but spirits stayed high and we were all back in Kerr Bay by 4.30pm, having covered at least 18 kilometres in our 7.5 hour day.

Other notable features of the tramp were finding an unidentified orchid beside a grassy section of the track and seeing the silver beech trees (its only host) covered with small creamy yellow honeycombed spheres, the fruiting body of the parasitic beech strawberry fungus, Cyttaria gunnii. The motorboating and jet skiing 'hoons' as we again approached civilisation were less welcome - but we could feel very satisfied with our active and re-creative day amidst incomparable scenery. Rotoiti is truly one of the taonga [treasures] of the "top of the south".

Trampers: Gillian Arbuthnott, Hec Arbuthnott, Kathy Harrison, Christine Hoy, Susan Ledingham (scribe), David Nielsen, Ayaka Yoshikawa - plus Jocelyn Winn (independent).
21 November 2004 - Mt Arthur (FMC trip) Organiser: Christine Burn (WTC)

Mt Arthur was the chosen tramp for the FMC delegates (due to early return requirements). As they were staying at the Tahuna Campground, that was our 7am meeting point. It took a good 15 minutes to organise everyone into various cars but by around 9am we were all at Flora carpark and ready to start walking. The large group arriving at Mt Arthur Hut disturbed the six teenagers who had overnighted and who were undoubtedly expecting a quiet morning! From the hut, the group split as only some people wanted to make it to the summit. The weather was not perfect: everyone had to don warmer clothing/raincoats due to the strong cool wind, and low cloud was blocking some of the views. As we climbed, admiring the early buttercups and euphrasia, the cloud came even lower over Mt Arthur. But with Tony in front and acting as leader, we were going to the top, view or no view. When we reached the top, it was too windy and cold to stop (and definitely no view) so we headed back down to find a more sheltered spot. Near the top there was lots of soft snow to slide on, in fact sliding was often not by choice as the soft snow gave way under our weight. Tony displayed elegant glissading skills, the rest of us less-elegantly slid on our derrieres. Just prior to lunch, we looked over into the Ellis Basin and debated how the other NTC trampers were faring in the strong wind. The main group were back at the hut at 2.30pm, noting that the cloud had lifted and Mt Arthur was now in glorious sunshine! Then back down to Flora carpark in time to ensure the FMC people got back to Nelson for their flights. Despite the imperfect weather, it was an enjoyable day. The FMC trampers were very happy with their day and have passed on their thanks. For us, it was a good opportunity to get to know some of our FMC representatives. The group: Tony Haddon, Marianne Hermsen, Uta Purcell, Alice Patterson, Jim Maxwell, Gretchen Williams, Dave Familton, Beverley Muirhead, Alison & David Nicoll, Mark Stevens, Peter O'Donnell, Dan McGuire, Lindsay Twiname (scribe) and from WTC: Christine Burn, Pat Taylor, and Robert Wopereis.

FMC participants: John Wilson, Rick Barber, Hannah McGregor, Eileen & Noel Newsome, Lex Smith, Brian Stephenson, Barbara Marshall, David Chandler, Owen Cox, Graeme & Michelle Lythgoe, Vivian Milne, David Round, John Rhodes, and Shaun Barnett.
28 November 2004 - Richmond Hills. Organiser: Alison Nicoll

Trampers: - David Neal; David Blunt; Dave Familton; David Nicoll; Ruth Hesselyn; John Olykan; Mark Graesser; Grahame Harris; Ana Christian; Alison Nicoll [organiser].

This close to home tramp began from Alison and David Nicoll's property in Hill St with the group walking the short distance along Hill Street to the Jimmy Lee Creek entrance to the Native Gully walkway - easy to miss the entrance unless you are looking for it. The beginning of the walkway has been planted in native plants, such as flaxes, pittosporum, totara, kowhai, grasses and cabbage trees, by volunteers over the last few years and these efforts are now paying dividends. The mostly shady walk, winding along a well formed but narrow track, winds up beside the pleasant-sounding stream flowing gently down beside the track and here the bush is mostly Whitey wood and Titoki with undercover of Kawa kawa and ferns. Several alternative routes are avoided and we stuck close to the stream. After about 30 minutes we reached a turn-off which was spotted first by Ruth's trusty Cairn, Skye, and began the steeper part of the tramp where the track was less defined and marked only by Venetian blind markers attached to some trees. Skye proved invaluable in leading the tramp from this point onwards and was determined to be the first to the top! Grahame took over the rear guard providing support and encouragement for those who were surprised at the grade 1 tramp starting to look like a grade 4! However it wasn't for very long and we broke out through the trees to find ourselves on Fowler Road - a 4 wheel drive forestry track. We stopped for a leisurely morning tea before crossing the road and continuing up the now steep stream bed with boulders and into the pines. A final steep fling and we were on the top. We had left at 9.15am and were up top by 11.30am. Alison had pre-arranged a visit to the forestry look-out and, Mike, the ranger there, told us about his lifestyle living on top of the hill - horrendous winds - fantastic views and constant monitoring of the surroundings for signs of smoke or fire. Mike has been there 12 years, so is not daunted by the lifestyle at all. We had lunch on the tops on a sheltered knoll as there was a very cold wind from the south and the cloud was low - so no signs of the Mt. Richmond group who were tramping in what looked like low cloud so no view for them towards Nelson either. Our route down followed the firebreaks and then along Fowler Road for an easy walk. We then rejoined the native gully track and eventually came out at Presto's creek entrance back onto Hill St. Back at the cars at 2pm - time for a quick look at the last of the irises - Skye had time to flush a rabbit before home in time to do other things.
28 November 2004 - Mt Richmond. Organiser: Dan McGuire

An early start saw 14 trampers at Church steps or already en route to Top Valley. Some daredevil-driving by Roger Minchin and others meant an extra hour's walk through forestry and 1,000 feet of climbing was avoided. The track was reached at 9.30am in good weather and we reached the hut at noon for a quick lunch. Arthur Jonas had to restrain the trip organiser from rushing to the scree for a look at penwipers. Thanks to this restraining influence, the trampers kept together and many saw an abundance of penwipers in flower, a treat not always available as some years there are no penwipers. Roger Minchin led the charge to the summit for good views before it clouded in. Both the Inland and Seaward Kaikouras were visible. A quick descent saw the party back at the cars by 5.30pm. At this point, a tired trip organiser overpaid two of the drivers leaving the other two short-changed. But in their usual gracious manner, the two short-changed drivers didn't demand immediate compensation but made do with the remaining funds. Next time someone else should handle the money, someone more capable with finance! Participants: Roger Minchin, Uta Purcell, Arthur Jonas, Yvonne Kyle, Gretchen Williams, Jim Maxwell, Tony Haddon, John Lammin, Pat Holland, Lindsay Twiname, Bob Janssen, Mary Honey, Michael Beatson, and Dan McGuire.
4-5 December 2004 - Fosters Clearing/Mt Baldy. Organiser: Grahame Harris

This trip was wrongly graded as 2; it should have been 3, and consequently pushed one person harder than it should have. I apologise. The rest were a fine array of trampers who took it in their stride - thank you all for your patience and help. We defied the weather forecast for this trip, and it paid off with rain coming in 24 hours late, on our way out. With the 4-bunk hut being occupied by three people, there were several tents that were put away dry in the morning. The walk in to Devils Creek hut was easy, but then the climb up to point 1066 was quite a grunt, followed by a sidle where we lost height before regaining it again. The way out was an interesting sortie along an unmaintained track to Baldy, followed by an off-track section to rejoin the main track just before 1066 and the long climb down to the hut for lunch, then out.

Party: Arthur Jonas, Jim Maxwell, Mike Marren, Andy Clark, Cathy & Rowan Worthy, Sharan Foga, John Lammin, Mark Graesser, Kazumi Yamamoto, Grahame Harris (organiser).
5 December 2004 - Billies Knob. Organiser: Mark Stevens

The weather report was not a flash one, rain and clearing in the afternoon, not to be in the mountains. Three knobbers turned out for the trip: Christine Hoy, Dan McGuire and myself. Arrived at Shakespeare Flat but he (Shakespeare) was nowhere to be seen, and with the cloud clearing and the hope of views every trampers dream, we set off at a cracking pace. I was not sure if I was pacing myself for Chris and Dan were right behind me, so at a view point and rest it was deemed the pace would be slowed. We made good time up the ridge at a more sedate pace and stopping for photos. Upon reaching the saddle, we chose the direct route up Billies Knob with the cloud building up. When we reached the top the views were limited and sleet and snow were falling. We had made excellent time: 2 hrs from carpark to the Knob. As it was 11.30pm, lunch was eaten with the ever increasing clouds. So a quick decent to the saddle and back down to the fork in the track that leads down to Blue Creek and the old gold workings. These were looked at and the plaques were read then it was a short walk back to the car park. Shakespeare still was nowhere to be seen. All in all a fast trip up and down the knob.
11-12 December 2004 - Bulmer Tarn. Organiser: Tony Haddon

Had it not been nearly midsummer we might not have been taken by surprise by the arctic wind and horizontal snow. We left town with visions of sun and balm, and in fact did have sun and balm until we parked in the paddock at the Owen road end where the rain started. That was not long before the slimy river crossings started. Then the hill. And the ropes. And the rope ladder. Then it was teatime in front of Mike's luvly fire among the trees beside picturesque Lake Bulmer. The whimperings about the cold and wet crescendoed about 7pm and we all went to bed.

It was obvious on peering out the gap in the zip on Sunday morning the cloud and snow meant no summit attempt. It also meant a leisurely breakfast in front of Mikes' luvly fire among the trees etc. The rest of the day wasn't all leisure as the route out led via the karst landscape over the top of Sunrise Peak to the chagrin of some. Fallout from this reached the leader when a false start down necessitated a climb back up to the correct drop off point. Not before several bods disappeared off the edge not to be seen again for some time. The trot down the ridge to the cars was all over by 3 pm.

Participants: Uta Purcell, Gretchen Williams, Ian Pavitt, Mike Marren, Grahame Harris, Steve McGlone, newcomers Lawrie and Brett Halkett, and Leader Tony Haddon.
12 December 2004 - Hoary Head. Organisers: Jim Maxwell & Margaret Page

7am, 10 bods met at the church steps and after a briefing from leader Jim piled into 3 4wd vehicles and headed off to pick up the other four starters. The trip to Mt.Campbell (Jim had gained permission and keys to take vehicles to the top, a considerable saving in time and energy) was uneventful if a bit exciting for those not accustomed to 4wdriving.

We were greeted at the top by very strong winds, chilly to say the least. Most people put on a few more layers and we headed off just before 9am. The route is up and down and roughish, not particularly marked but Jim kept us on the straight and narrow. After a short morning tea stop we were underway again with Hoary Head clearly in our sights. The spectacular views all along the ridge make this trip worthwhile. Approx 3 hours later we were as usual undecided which is the true top as there are several possible knobs. We sought shelter over the edge and enjoyed lunch while feasting our eyes on the 360 panoramic views laid out before us. We didn't linger for long before mustering the group and heading back.

The trip back held no problems until the last steep ascent which is a bit of a killer. It looked easier to head left and sidle in more open country than tackle the straight-up-and-at-em ridge before us. The sidle was quite long and I'm not convinced the easiest way but what the heck it got us to where we needed to be. The group ahead of me startled a large, smelly billy goat which nearly landed in my lap before changing direction and careering off down hill at a rapid pace. No other animal life to be seen except the names that appear at the end. Back at the vehicles about 5pm-ish the wind certainly hadn't abated at all.

We all felt glad to have been there and done that, Hoary Head is such a familiar bump on our western skyline. The trip down not without its concerns as the key at the last gate was not at all co-operative and the thought of being stuck there not exciting, but "the chaps" managed to persuade it to co-operate. Where is CRC when you need it?

Definitely a trip for long day light hours but one that comes highly recommended.

Leader Jim Maxwell, Reporter Marg Page and fellow travellers Shirley Gabrielsen, Yvonne Kyle, Shirley DeGroot, Lindsay Twiname, David Blunt, Margaret Edwards, Marianne Hermsen, Dan McGuire, Val Latimer and visitors Noel & Sheryl File, and Bob Hughes.