Trip Reports, April–June 2012

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  1. Rough Creek > Raglan Ranges
  2. Lees Creek-Mangerton Range > Raglan Ranges
  3. Mount Malita > Mt Richmond Forest Park
  4. Navigation Weekend – Glenhope
  5. Slaty Hut – Mt Richmond Forest Park
  6. Rocks Hut – Mt Richmond Forest Park
  7. The Lodestone – Kahurangi National Park
  8. Shedwood Bush & Luna Hut – Tadmor
  9. Olive Pick-Nik – Frog's End
  10. Booths Hut – Nelson Lakes National Park
  11. Cable Bay – Nelson

24 March 2012 – Rough Creek trip – Nelson Lakes National Park
Leader: Silvano Lorandi

We walked up Rough Creek: Mike Drake, Mike Glover, Silvano Lorandi, Pat Holland, Dion Pont, Lee Nixon, Brian Renwick, Mark Stevens and myself...that’s nine.

It wasn’t too bad going, although I was slowest up the last tussocky bit to the tarns.

When we sat down to lunch. We had some lovely views of the Wairau Valley and river. However, within quarter of an hour we were immersed in rain, hail and then snow. It stayed like that all along the ridge – absolutely freezing.

We cut the walk short at the Parachute Rock turn-off and most of us went out to St Arnaud, while the fittest three collected the cars.

Brian’s knee went ‘crook’ on the way so he hobbled out on two poles, walking backwards some of the way which was easier on him!

Much to our surprise, the alpine lodge welcomed our messy wet selves with open arms, for hot coffees/wines/beers. We celebrated Ruth, her spirit, and thought she would have been proud of us for keeping safe – if not a little bemused that we did her walk in such weather in the first place!

Marijke Boers (Scribe)

14–15 April  2012 – Lees Creek–Mangerton Range Raglan Ranges
Leader: Ken Ridley

Five members enjoyed perfect weather for this weekend trip. After the hassle of getting the key and opening the gate, we had a pleasant walk to the hut flat where we stopped for lunch.

The route above the hut flat to the next flat in the left branch is still follow-able, but is getting overgrown with beech regeneration. One of the group had a fall here due to an unseen branch on the path.

Above the flat, the route follows river flats and becomes rougher and bouldery towards the next confluence of Lee Creek. We camped at the comfortable camp-site here under beech trees. The sun was down on arrival but we soon had a fire going for an enjoyable evening.

Up next morning at 6:30am. First job was getting the fire going for a comfortable breakfast. Before heading off, we went to visit the very attractive waterfall not far up the upper right branch. Then, off up the left branch to the alpine basin above. This is a very interesting area with flat areas, two lovely tarns, and rocky peaks all around.

My route from here was up steep scree and rock to a high saddle on Mangerton Ridge. After a hard slog, we arrived at the wrong place. The scree down to lower Lees Creek was off to our left. This being the Raglan Ranges, we couldn’t just walk back along the ridge.

We had to drop down some distance and climb up again – second time lucky. We lunched on top before tackling the long scree down to Lees Creek. Care was required. On a section of compacted scree, one group member had to self-arrest with a Leki pole. A bit of bush-bashing brought us out to the track, where we had a brew. Marching out to the car, we arrived by 5pm.

On this tramp were: Sue Davies, Christine Hoy, Kelvin Drew, Ray Caird and Ken Ridley (scribe.)

15 April 2012 – Mount Malita – Mt Richmond Forest Park
Leader: Jim Maxwell

This was a pleasant walk up through pine forest, stopping in the sunny spots to warm up and eventually breaking out into the open to get a look at the surrounding hills.

A bit misty on top but improving on our way down. We arrived back at the car park in time for a boil-up and a cup of tea beside the river before heading home.

Jim Maxwell, Pat Holland, Dan McGuire and two visitors made up the party.

This trip was a fill-in as the trip listed in the club Programme was cancelled.

28–29 April 2012 – Navigation Training Weekend – Glenhope

Mike & Deidre Glover kindly hosted the Club at their marvellous holiday property on the Dry Weather Road, a few km from Glenhope turnoff. Mike also coordinated the training. In their beautiful little wooden cottage we did our eating, drinking and formal training.

On the first morning, Mike took us carefully through the basics of map and compass with good visual aids and lots of little exercises. Some of us were surprised by how rusty we were!

In the big outdoors (7ha native forest) we then put theory into practice with groups using map and compass to find cunningly placed way-points on a forest route up hills and down steep gullies. This finished with a compulsory go on the Glovers huge bush swing/trapeze.

A splendid pot-luck dinner and social evening followed. Further theory was taught on Day 2 and then another practical route-finding exercise, this time in the neighbour’s flat paddocks and trees.

We were supposed to get back to where we started from, but what is plus or minus 50m amongst friends?

Lavish afternoon tea was consumed. Then the Glover kids gave us hair-raising rides around their property in the little Suzuki 4WD.

Altogether, we not only lucked out on the weather (dreary in Nelson city) but learned a lot and had great fun.

Thanks to Mike & Deidre for tremendous hospitality. Also to Alice, Chelsea and Wade for great company.

Participants included: Pat Holland (scribe), Lawrie Halkett, Brenda Griffin, Marijke Boers, Andrea Cockerton, Dion Pont, Alison Aaron, Mike Drake, David Rae, Uta Purcell, Nora & Adele Flight and Paul Lurch (guest).

19–20 May 2012 – Slaty Hut – Mt Richmond Forest Park
Leader: Marijke Boers

Mt Starveall has become a favourite walk for Stella and I since discovering it earlier this year. It was an obvious choice as a first trip to lead for the club- this time going a little further to stay at Slaty Hut. Dave and Sue were both retracing old steps from 30 or more years before and keen to see the “new” (1980’s) Slaty Hut.

The weather lived up to it’s fine forecast for both days. The six of us had a sunny mid morning walk in from the upper forestry road, (key required), making Starveall Hut in 90 minutes. The route was a combination of alpine bush and sub alpine scrub, rocky underfoot and plenty of frosty crispness from the night before. After an early first lunch at the hut, we ascended to the Mt Starveall Ridge where a cool breeze greeted us.

We dumped our packs and turned right at the very top of the Ridge. There’s no clear route and Mt Starveall is not easily identifiable as there are several rocky outcrops. I’ve found its an easy 20 minute walk to turn right immediately at the very top of the ridge, and aim for the third or fourth rocky outcrop on the right (south west). You know you’re in the right place when an ancient metal rod wedged in some rocks greets you.

A second lunch was enjoyed back at the packs before we descended to Slaty Hut, where we arrived around 3.30 pm. After walking in cool shade for the previous two hours, it was great to arrive on the tussocky hut slopes glowing in the evening sun.

Slaty Hut itself, set against the bush, appears to be continually in shade and we were surprised to find plenty of snow frostings around the hut.

Dave set to and created a fantabulous fire for us with plenty of wood to spare for the next occupants and after lots of refreshment, the evening was spent with hilarity as we reacquainted ourselves with the card game “five hundred”. Congratulations to Dave and Sue who were the indisputable victors!

Indolence would have set in about 9.30pm had it not been for the unexpected arrival of an enthusiastic sole night tramper called Jane. Jane extolled the virtues of night tramping and reminded us what a brilliant clear night it was. Much to our own surprise, several of us refreshed our pyjama-cloaked mentality, donned tramping gear and headed into the frost to climb Slaty Peak by star and torchlight! Paul ‘selflessly’ offered to remain and signal the hut location for our descent.

It was quite something to be up on the tops with the starry sky spread over us and distant lights visible in Motueka, with hinting glimpses of Blenheim and Wairau on the other side – Stella certainly approved! We arrived back very pleased with ourselves and had a great night’s sleep.

The next day, we headed out into a beautiful day and retraced our steps. This time there was virtually no wind on Mt Starveall with incredibly clear distant views to snowy peaks in the southwest and east.

The one anxiety was Stella, our dog, who unbeknownst to us,, had decided that Jane was clearly the more desirable companion, having set off an hour or more before the rest of us – fortunately in the same direction. A happy reunion was had on the Starveall ridge, we continued a pleasant walk out and all were comfortably back home by mid afternoon.

Special thanks to Lawrie Halkett for assistance with the forestry key, and to Ruth Hesselyn and Carole Crocker for cajoling me into discovering Mt Starveall.

Rocks Hut – Mt Richmond Forest Park

26–27 May 2012 – Rocks Hut – Bryant Range, Mt Richmond Forest Park
Leader: Uta Purcell

Nelson City Council is installing a new water pipeline in the Maitai Valley. In the meantime, this trip starts at Smiths Ford Reserve and totals 15km. Most of the track is now a shared mountain bike track, though we encountered only a few bikers.

Where the track forks to the Maitai caves, trampers can now cross the Maitai River comfortably on a substantial bridge.

The clouds at the start of our day were supposed to lift. Coming out of the trees and hoping for a view, we could only see the cloud lowering, nevertheless we enjoyed being out tramping.

On Dun Saddle it was unpleasant enough for the three leading walkers to move on to Rocks Hut without delay. It was after 4pm, when after numerous rests, we had all made it to the hut, just on dark. Later, the 16-bunk hut filled up with 18 people. Some had come part-way on mountain bikes; for some it was party time; others tucked in for a restless night with strong gusts of wind and thoughts of tomorrow.

We were the first group to move out in the morning, glad that we could cope with the gale-force winds, rain and low visibility, taking the bouldery track below Dun Saddle slowly.

Nice, new standards and signs mark the tramping track here. Now we were glad to meet up again with the mountain bike track, where we could make much better speed. We returned to the cars at 1pm in the rain. However, when driving out of the Maitai Valley, all of a sudden the first blue patches of sky appeared – Murphy’s Law?

I am happy to thank my fellow trampers for how they faced their own challenges, plus the challenges of weather and conditions, and for the support shown to each other: Nolene Tullett, Alison Nicoll, Bel Paine (visitor), Brenda Griffin, Rod and Carol Lewis (visitors), Gretchen Williams, and Uta Purcell (scribe).

3 June 2012 – The Lodestone  – Kahurangi National Park
Leader: Brenda Griffin

Though the day wasn’t looking too promising, but with most of the walk below the bush-line, we decided to proceed. After a few missed turns, we arrived to a full Flora carpark. It’s great to see so many people making the most of the weekends in our mountains. (Thanks to Val for leading the way.)

Lodestone is a short, but cheeky, steep climb. The weather was deteriorating, so once we arrived on top, we decided to return the way we came. We had lunch just off the summit under a small rock face, out of the wind and rain.

On the return car journey, we stopped at Upper Moutere for refreshments. Our visitors Vivienne Lilly and John Tomie enjoyed the day out with the club. Scribe Brenda Griffin and club member Val Latimer led the way.

16 June 2012 – Shedwood Bush (Tapawera) & Luna Hut
Leader: Uta Purcell

On a frosty morning in Nelson, nine trampers experienced an even frostier day in Tapawera. For most of us this track was new. Firstly, we absorbed a bit of local history at the Museum, devoted to the railway line that came to Kiwi and Tapawera in the past.

Shedwood Bush is on the southern side of a hill and kept us in the shade all the way up. Struggling through, and attempting to clear some of the many windfalls, got us warm.

When we stepped into the sun for morning tea at the end of the climb, the view opened down onto Tapawera, the foothills, the valleys of Tadmor, Wangapeka and Baton, crowned by the glittering Western Ranges. The arch of mountains reached from Gordons Knob to Mt Campbell.

We went back down the same way and drove to Harry Hancock’s old property nearby, walked some ten minutes across grassy fields, and settled in for lunch at the old Luna Hut. Harry relocated this 46-year-old hut from its original site on the Leslie-Karamea track to sit beside his man-made lake.

The hut was much photographed and the saving of this hut much admired. The outside has been repainted; the inside is authentic. On our short walk out through Harry’s farmland his fenced-in sheep and Kune Kune pigs “talked” to us.

The short tramp and visit to Luna Hut were enjoyed by Merrick Mitchell, David Rae, Raymond and Lynnette Salisbury (visitor), David Blunt, Jim Maxwell, Jackie Hoffman (visitor), Vivienne Lilley (visitor), and Uta Purcell (scribe).

10 June 2012 – Olive Pick-Nick at Frog’s End
Scribe: Pat Holland

Frog’s End, Appleby was alive with chatter, as olives rolled off nets into boxes.

A team of about 25 was involved and worked hard all day, although it was tough after the sumpteous pot-luck luncheon (thanks Heather, Lyndsay and Rae for lovely soups).

The orchard and surrounding countryside were delightful on a mild, sunny day. But not quite the same without Ruth scurrying about. Peter showed us the little deck and wooden bench seat he is constructing down by the estuary as a memorial.

Over a tonne of olives were picked and the oil yield after pressing was excellent. So it was a very worthwhile endeavour. A big thanks and hugs from Peter & Rae Coubrough

17 June 2012 – Booths Hut – Nelson Lakes National Park
Leader: Jo Kay

Tramping, Gold & Ice –  By Selau Ifopo (Aged 8)

On a bright, sunny morning, Jo, Nana, Grandad, my brother Peia (6) and I prepared to go on a tramp to visit an old gold-miners hut. It was Sunday the 17th of June, almost the middle of winter, which meant we had to dress up warmly with long johns and thermal tops underneath all our clothes. After packing our snacks and hot soup in the thermos for lunch at the hut, we piled in to Jo’s car and we were on our way to the Howard Valley to meet up with five others from the Nelson Tramping Club.

Finally we came to a turn-off onto a gravel road which led to a ford that we had to cross. We almost got stuck on the rocks! Just past the ford, we stopped at the beginning of the Louis Creek track. After two minutes the five others turned up and we could begin our tramp!

The track steeply curved up through a pine forest then opened up into a clearing where a stone memorial embedded with old gold miners’ tools stood. Just beyond the memorial was a corner where we could look down so freely on the dry grass sloping down to the green trees below. Then we had to cross a little stream to get into the lovely native forest, dotted with crown ferns.

We walked steadily up through the bush, and then Peia spotted the goal of our trip: the gold-miners hut! Grandad explained to us that the old hut was made with native timber boards split with an axe. There was an old suitcase in the hut.

Here, we enjoyed hot soup for lunch. Five club members climbed the hill then came down another way, while we went down the same way we came up.

We fossicked around a river but disappointingly, found no gold. Then we returned to the car. Just after going through the ford, the five trampers came down the other track – they must have been walking pretty fast!

Exhausted, we climbed into Jo’s car and headed back to Lake Rotoiti. However, we forgot our tiredness when we stopped at the ice-skating pond and enjoyed sliding on the ice.

Other fossickers were: Pat Holland, Andy Clark, Dion Pont (who chased us up the track in his 4wd and joined us for lunch at the hut) and visitors Sue and Paul Henley, Kate, Suzanne and Marty Smith with their grand-children Selau and Peia Ifopo, Jo’s friends from Blenheim and leader Jo Kay.

(The fit ones carried on up the track from Booths Hut to meet up with the Porika track for fine views then carried on down the Porika track back to the cars parked at the Louis Creek turnoff.)

24 June 2012 – Cable Bay Walkway

Leader: Barry James

Six trampers arrived at The Glen for a walk up the beach and climb up the cliffs to the Cable Bay Walkway. The tide was coming in and it was hard work climbing over all the big boulders. We stopped for morning tea at noon, with a baby seal to entertain us. It swam along near us in the surf, then stopped to climb up a large rock face so it could lie in the sun.

After morning tea, we climbed up the cliff face to the track. There was evidence of erosion from December’s rainstorm. We proceeded along the track to a lunch stop above Cable Bay, then backtracked by the walkway through to The Glen.

Thanks to Barry James for organising the trip, with participants Dan McGuire (scribe), Pat Holland (navigator), Ken Ridley, and Chris and wife Carole.


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