Trip Reports: February 2004

Dew Lakes – 8 November 2003. Leader: Uta Purcell
When our two carloads of eager trampers got into their gear at the Maitai Dam a third car turned up, its occupant was Gary Davies, relieving caretaker at the Dam. He had dropped by to say hello. With his seal of approval and a blue sky, after gales and rain the previous day, we knew we were heading for a good day out on this track of history and good views. It was the leader’s introduction to a round trip in this area, led on by the knowlegeable members. We were all rewarded with splendid views on the section to the Maungatapu Saddle, on one side to the Arthur Range, on the other to the Seaward Kaikouras. Another good feature of this track is, of course, the change in landscape and frequent change in bush and open spaces. Because it was a round trip, the normal time of 6 hours up and down the same way turned into 7 ½ hours. Thank you to the participants who did not mind that the easy trip became a medium level trip: Ray Crowe, Julian Shields, Yvonne Kyle, Trish Bennett, Dan McGuire, Lesley Friend, Marianne Hermsen, Jim Maxwell, Val Latimer, Uta Purcell (leader).

Mt Campbell - 16 November 2003. Leader: Lindsay Twiname
The forecast was dodgy but it seemed we would be merely buffeted by strong winds and rained on only late in the day, so why cancel a perfectly good day’s tramping. We set forth suitably laden with raincoats and sweaters (and even an iceaxe!) but were soon stripped down, some applying sunblock. Lots of stops on the way up and oh the relief of the patch of shady native bush about half way up. We reached the top just before midday to views that Uta described as “soft”, i.e. hazy but great views all the same. A slight breeze offered some cooling. After a leisurely lunch and an inspection by Tony of some of the workings of the transmission tower, we headed back down. Again several stops to laze in the sun, giving “Calendar Girl” Jim a chance to sunbath and Grahame the opportunity to entertain us with yet another story. Was it really only 20 degrees that day – or are we merely unused to hot, still days? Many thanks to Dan McGuire, Uta Purcell, Mary Young, Grahame Harris, Gretchen Williams, Yvonne Kyle, Arthur Jonas, Jim Maxwell, Tony Haddon, Brian McLean, and visitor Jocelyn Winn.

Rabbit Island - 23 November 2003. Leader: Robyn Walsh
The group met at 9.30am at Stoke. Quite a cool southerly blowing which meant we would be sheltered from any wind on the Rabbit Island beachfront which faces north. The sky was hazy but slowly getting sunnier and so it became rather warm for our morning walk. Interest for the walk was shown from a possible 16, but we now had 11 enthusiasts after a few pulled out. We arived at the carpark at the wetern limits right on 10am and began walking east towards the Nelson end. Along the way, discussion was had on the different varieties of shells on the beach for the benefit of Kay from San Diego, while some members couldn’t resist the urge to start picking up plastic rubbish. This resulted in drink bottles and rubber gloves being carried in a broken plastic bucket. The beach was empty of people – we seemed to be the only ones around.
At 11.20am with it getting quite hot, members decided to retire for lunch when a good spot was found. Three of the party carried on for 20 minutes more before they stopped for lunch. We began the wlak back at 12.30pm a while after the others had come along. By now a strong breeze was blowing in off the sea making it not so pleasant. We arrived back at our cars at 1.45pm and back into town by 2.15pm after a very enjoyable half day’s outing.
The 6 members and 5 non-members were: Ross Price, Brenda Sinclair, Vivienne Lightfoot, Caroline Spence, Pat Whittaker, Kay & Joe Waller (ex San Diego), Denis Parnell, Gavin Holmwood, Lesley Spedding, and leader Robyn.

Shakespeare Flat - 22 & 23 November 2003. Cancelled due to poor weather.

Judges / Coldwater Creeks - 29 & 30 November 2003. Leader: Nora Flight
A lively exchange of money occurred at 7am on a fine Saturday morning outside Nora’s Richmond home. The biggest hurdle of the day over, we now had to tackle the paper work at the manager’s residence of the Rainbow Station. Each driver having to fill in a form and hand over $20 – quite a haul. 

Choc muffins at the grassy Coldwater\Wairau Rivers confluence; then off into the Matagouri following the true left of the Coldwater for starters. No cattle up here, or Judges; although evidence of autumn grazing. Not a lot of forest up here, but large scree slopes all around, and a surprising amount of snow above 4000 ft. Quite interesting following up this creek as it’s not as open and flat as Judges, with more fall. Penwipers were almost trodden on, but gloated over. Crossing over to the true right we passed a lovely waterfall and up a step into the upper reaches of the Coldwater. The most forest in this valley is here and beckons to be camped in. The scree slope that links up to the Lee had fresh snow on, but looked negotiable. It’s easy to pick the way up to our tarn on the true left. Various routes were taken up the steep grassy slope, with the ex deer hunters taking to the rocks. 

Truly a magnificent location to camp amongst. The tarn a turquoise deep blue with snow beaches, and a sizeable chunk of grass area for our 11 tents to be respectfully spaced. Seagull tarn could be a name, as they were also present last year on Ruth’s trip. With lots of rests it had only taken us 5.5 hours to get here.

Frozen boots was a general hazard next morn. The last of us headed skyward at 8.30, while some were already waiting on top in the sun. The saddle and scree slope is seen from the tarn. Most followed up on the edge of a frozen snow slope, then followed that interesting zone between scree and rockface. Beautiful vege sheep had to be carefully tread around. Being one of the last up I could hear a party going on above. Then regretfully down the softening snow slopes into the magnificent headwaters of Judges. And a simple walk out. Although the snow melt meant a few preferred to link arms on river crossings lower down….

Participants were: Nora Flight, Bevan Walker, Lindsay Twiname, Ian Pavitt, Bev Rotherham, Alice Patterson, Jim Maxwell, Ruth Hesselyn, Arthur Jonas, Grahame Harris, Uta Purcell, Mark Graesser, Giselle Clements, and Bob Janssen. {Editor’s note: Nora’s chocolate muffins are yum – should be compulsory way to start a day’s tramp!]

Kahikatea Track – Sun. evening, 7 December 2003. Leader: Robyn Walsh
After a despondent day on Saturday, when the walk was scheduled, with rain and low cloud, the decision to do the walk Sunday evening was the right one. With all conditions just perfect, this evening walk turned out to be quite magical and summery. Only four, Denis, Carl, Vivienne and Robyn, met at 5pm at Bishopdale, then climbed up through the bushy gully at a relaxed pace as it was rather warm and there was no hurry. The sun shone right in here through the trees giving the usually shady gully a bright dappled glow. We arrived at the junction of roads at 6.30. Carl had a wish to finally stand on the Grampians summit, after many months of looking at it from home, so Robyn and Denis went up with him as witnesses while Vivienne went over to the Lookout Platform. Carl achieved his goal and rang wife, Sue, on his cellphone to tell her the news from the top. We walked back down to join Vivienne at 7.15 to have our picnic teas and enjoy the cloud-free views. Not a hint of a breeze and still quite warm.

Vivienne was ready to go down early before us. With a TV programme in mind she departed before us summiteers. We followed her 15 minutes later at 7.50. We walked only 5 minutes on Kahikatea Track then took a right branching to join up with the Matai Track for the descent. This track hadn’t been worked on like the other so was narrow and steeper. No sun on this side of the gully and with the sun nearly setting the light was quite dim by the time we were halfway down. We arrived back at the starting point at 8.45 after a really nice evening.
Participants: Denis Parnell, Carl Horn, Vivienne Lightfoot, Robyn Walsh.

Mt Fishtail – 7 December 2003. Leader: Dan McGuire
A fine day saw a large contingent assemble at Pine Valley carpark. Everyone managed the strenuous climb very well. There were celmesias and buttercups in flower at the hut. Near the top Uta got good photos of penwipers. Tappy and Mitre as well as the Nelson Lakes ranges had snow on them as did Mt Egmont. Good views all around. We got back to the carpark about 6pm.
Participants: Uta Purcell, Mark Graesser, Tony Haddon, Jim Maxwell, Jim Western, Ruth Hesselyn, Gretchen Williams, Gisela Purcell, Mary Young, Mary Honey, Skye the dog, and leader Dan.

Mt Mantell – 13 & 14 December 2003. Cancelled due to weather.

Appletree Bay Xmas Picnic Tramp – 21 December 2003. Leader: Gretchen Williams
Party: Gretchen Williams, Dave Blunt (Santa), Arthur Jonas, Yvonne Kyle, Grahame Harris (scribe), Marianne Hermsen, Val Latimer, Steve McGlone, Dion Pont, Roger and Barbara Bruce, Alison Nicoll, Holly Pain, Lindsay Twiname, Ian Pavitt, David Nielsen, Cheryl.

We left at dawn (9.00 am from my place) and hastened slowly to Marahau where we assembled to count heads and place our offerings in the Santa Bag. Most participants wore something Christmasy which attracted a few sympathetic looks from people we met on the track ("Poor Dears - they have obviously got lost.") We arrived at Appletree Bay right on midday, just in time for a swim by half a dozen enthusiasts before lunch. After dining and resting a while, and a bit of frisbee thanks to Steve, Santa gave us a lucky dip from his sack with presents ranging from air fresheners to radios to soap and toilet paper. Some then returned by the track but most took advantage of the low tide to return around the rocks, sand and mud.
It was a most enjoyable day, and congratulations to Gretchen for putting it together so well.
(Note: Big New Movie - The Gretch who gave us back Christmas.)

Starveall Hut / Pyramid Rock - 4 January 2004. Leader: Jim Maxwell
Nine keen trampers met at 7am to try to get to the top of Starveall and be back home on time for tea. It was hot up the Hackett and hot in the bush up the hill to the hut. Ian and David didn't want to miss out on the summit and so departed from the main body of trampers. The main group reached the hut and sat down for lunch when Ian turned up looking very refreshed and said it's nice on top and David is on his way back too. The main group went up another 100vm and turned back because of the time. Coming back most of the group went up Pyramid Rock and when we reached Hacketr creek several had a dip to cool off. Down at the Whispering Falls turnoff, Marianne decided she needed another swim while the rest of us sat in the shade. Reached the cars about 6.30pm. A very hot day. Participants: Marianne Hermsen, Roger Bruce, Grahame Harris, Mary Honey, Mark Graesser, Ian Pavitt, David Blunt, and Ross Haverfield.

Atawhai Foothills - 11 January 2004. Leader: David Blunt.
This was a half day walk starting at Wastney Tce, Marybank, at 8am and finishing at the Botannical Reserve at 12.30. The first part was through the Harris farm, with their attractive farm stay cottages, to the Hira forest boundary. Then along the boundary to the Lookout seat at the end of the Sharlands Bush track where a lengthy morning tea was enjoyed in warm sunny conditions. After continuing along the boundary almost to Kaka Hill it was through the fence and up to another lookout point and photo stop then down an old farm track to the ridge above Bay View Road where Graeme made a right hand turn for home and the rest of us a left turn for the centre of NZ.
The walk was concluded for some of the group by a meal at the Pheasant Plucker in the Bush. Highly recommended.
Party members. Uta, Graeme, Ian, David, Trish, Alison, Mark & Alice.

Round Lake - 17-18 January 2004. Leader: Peter Wise
The trip leader was thinking of getting going on this trip at 5.45pm on the Friday after work but this didn’t suit some participants. So we set off at 5.45 Saturday morning instead. This style of decision-making set the trend for the rest of the weekend. Derogatory thoughts about the leader’s early starts were often mumbled out aloud by one team member, to the amusement (and encouragement) of everyone else. 

By early Saturday we had passed Lake Cobb where Marianne, Mary and Jim had a refreshing dip, and had arrived at Round Lake after another 45 minutes climb. This was wilderness country when we arrived but very soon it became a busy little camping ground as 8 one/two-person tents sprung up plus the Club’s dome tent. Ian and David climbed to the top of Mt Gibbs just after noon, then along the Peel Range for some great views. The rest of the team preferred to wait til later to do a similar trip when the temperature was a little cooler.

It was that night the fun began. Just before midnight the wind came up. First we would hear the wind gusts racing down off the peaks then the sound and feel of the tents being battered – everyone spent a restless night fearing for their tent. And yes it happened: the Club’s dome tent came down, permanently, due to a sudden extra-strong gust of wind. Peter, Mary and Marianne were awoken by the snapping of tent poles and the tearing of the tent fly. Peter crawled out of his sleeping bag to examine the damage - not much that could be done and, as it was not raining, he crawled back into his sleeping bag. The almost 2 metre high dome tent had now become a three-person bivvy bag. The scene on Sunday morning was quite different to that of early Saturday evening. Not only was the weather overcast and threatening to rain plus strong winds, but the tents….. The Club tent was flat on the ground with the broken poles sticking out through the tears; Jim’s tent – actually a fly held up by four (borrowed) Leki poles looking like a circus tent – was still standing but just hanging in there; Uta’s tent had disappeared but no, not due to the winds, but Uta’s desire to arise at the earliest peek of light and dismantle her flapping beast!

We retreated, via the round-about route to Fenella Hut where we stopped for an hour or so and a cuppa and a chat to two families there, then back down the valley to the cars. A stop at Toad Hall in Motueka for coffee and icecream as well as much hilarity and further derogatory comments towards the long-suffering leader. Those on the trip were: David Blunt, Ian Pavitt, Grahame Harris, Jim Maxwell, Lindsay Twiname, Mary Honey, Mark Graesser, Marianne Hermsen, Neil Thomas, Uta Purcell, Yvonne Kyle, and leader Peter Wise. 

Ben Nevis - 25 January 2004. Leader: Roger Minchin
Well the weather looked better this time so there was no thought of cancelling the trip. Even the road was better but it is hard enough on a standard car. I was warned that both gates had been closed the weekend before but after a phone checkup they made sure they were open. I recall driving right up to the trees on an earlier trip so had to try it with 4WD – no problem.

16 started, mostly from Stoke PO at 7.30. It looked to be foggy up the gorge but the forecast was for it to clear later. This proved correct with pleasant cool conditions on the walk up and fine weather on the top. We all made it between 11.15 & 11.30 for an early lunch. With likely rain coming we had a wonderful clear view of all the surrounding tops above the clouds. After lunch half the party went back to a slightly higher trig on the ridge and slightly better view. Back at Stoke at 3.45 after a most enjoyable day.

Party:- Grahame Harris, Steve McGlone, Dan McGuire, Rob & Joan Olsen, Christine Hoy, Mark Simmers, Alison Nicoll, Lindsay Twiname, Mark Graesser, Donna Nelson, Yvonne Kyle, Mary Honey, Brent Dodson, Shirley Gabrielsen, and Roger Minchin.

Mt Travers/Upper Travers Hut - 31 Jan to 2 Feb 2004. Cancelled due to poor weather.
Trip leader, David Blunt, hopes to schedule this trip again for the Club – probably Nelson Anniversary weekend in 2005. Meantime, David is offering a private trip to Mt Travers this summer, some time at the end of February (after Ruth’s Copland Pass trip) or during March. Numbers will be restricted to eight people. Phone David – 548 6826.

Te Ao Whekere, Seaward Kaikouras - 6 to 8 February 2004. Leader: Jim Maxwell
A long drive awaited the eleven bleary-eyed trampers that had assembled at the cathedral steps at an early hour on Friday morning. The long drive over to the Kaikouras was broken by one or two of the party insisting that they have a caffeine and cake infusion. The walk began at the farm entrance at the end of the Puhi Puhi Road, some 15km from the State Highway. A nice slight gradient across farmland to the farm’s airstrip (the only easy part of the walk). From here we followed sheep tracks through regenerating manuka/kanuka, and on a much steeper grade. The combination of a hot day, full packs, and pushing through scrub soon had most of us glowing steamily with a lot less chatter. From the scrub we emerged on to a recently formed farm track which led us to the start of our Happy Valley Stream climb. Approximately 3 hours later we were at our campsite and pitching tents, with wonderful views down the valley to the coast. After a general comparing of people’s dinners and general chit chat, most retired to the safe (!) haven of their tents. At this point, the tranquil setting was shattered by the guest appearance of a solo-climb specialist who shall remain nameless (at least for the next 2 paragraphs). Many in the group say that it was he that brought the onslaught that was soon to hit us. But first there was a call to witness an amazing moonrise over the sea, as the full moon was quite red in colour, lit by the unseen setting sun. Once again we retired to our tents hoping for some well-deserved sleep when very strong wind gusts started and continued throughout the night. Numerous tents sustained various forms of damage. No-one had much sleep that night. 

At breakfast the wind gusts were still very strong and it was decided some of the group would explore further up the valley and some would make a start down, with all the group to walk out that day. Those that went higher up the valley encountered a large basin with numerous scree slopes flowing down from the encircling ridgeline. A scree slope at the end of the basin was climbed and on the ridge the wind was predictably very strong. Not a lot of time was spent on top of the ridge before an easy retreat down the scree slope and back to pick up gear from the campsite and walk out to the cars. 

Once again the same caffeine and cake addicts implored our leader to make a stop on the way back at the now familiar café. Many thanks to leader Jim Maxwell for organising this trip which we’re sure will be repeated to achieve the peak of Te Ao Whekere in better conditions. Group members consisted of: Ruth Hesselyn, Mike Drake, Giselle Clements, Dion Pont, Alice Patterson, Roger Bruce, Yvonne Kyle, Steve McGlone, Jim Western, and Ian Pavitt (scribe); with Tony Haddon providing the guest appearance.

Clouston Mine - 8 February 2004. Leader: Shirley Gabrielsen
What a mixed day weather wise. We arrived at the Flora carpark about 9am and it wasn't long before we put on extra warm clothes then started walking, arriving at the first swing bridge where we met a group of Wellington trampers, in time for morning. 
The Clouston Mine track branches off the main Salisbury track. It is well benched and the windfalls have been cleared. There are a few remains where gold prospectors huts were and the mine with water still flows. 
Down came the rain, on went the raincoats. We climbed up to the first signpost then sidled across Gordons Pyramid keeping lower down to avoid the chilling wind, then onto the track that leads to Salisbury Lodge (not the potholes). The sun came out while we had a much earned late lunch. With reluctance we left our warm spot at 1.50pm and headed down the track stopping to have a look at the Dry Rock Shelter. Approx. 20kms round trip. 
On the trip: Val Latimer, Christine Hoy, Jocelyn Winn, Alison Nicoll, Trish Bennett, Chris Rabey, Grahame Harris, Dan McGuire, Ted Brooks, and Shirley G.

Pearse Resurgence - 15 February 2004. Leader: Ian Pavitt
A wonderful cross-section of the Nelson Tramping Club’s “elite” emerged from the cars on the Pearse Road, at the start of this epic, aqueous tramp. After a short road-bash of about 1km, we hit the track proper which was quite overgrown in places with broom and bracken. The track stays close to the Pearse River initially but gradually climbs around some bluffs before descending to the river to make the first of the 20 river crossings for the day. Due to the wetter than normal summer this was not going to be such an easy day as first thought, as river levels and current were greater than normal and the water temperature very cold. But this illustrious group took it all in their stride and after 9 more river crossings and some luxuriant bush sections alongside the river, we were all safely at the resurgence, admiring the upwelling spectacle and enjoying a well-earned lunch in the warming sun. It was pleasing to see and hear lots of birds along the river, including three blue ducks.

Just as the feeling in the feet was returning, it was time to return by the way we had come and by the time of our last river crossing on the return trip, I swear this group were walking on water. Many thanks to all those budding Neptunes who joined me on this trip: Shirley Gabrielsen, Alison Nicoll, Jim Maxwell, Grahame Harris, Yvonne Kyle, Arthur Jonas, Gretchen Williams, Marianne Hermsen, Dan McGuire, Ted Brooks, Kath Ballantine, Dion Pont, and newcomers Pauline Campbell and Dave Adams.