Monday, October 17th, 2022
Eight members rendezvoused at Evansdale at 9 am this Sunday. The forecast was not promising a great day and small spits had appeared on the windscreen on the way down.
All ebikes on this trip, we set off towards Seacliff and deviated to Truby King Memorial Reserve for a quick look and a coffee stop for some. Then back to Church Rd and up over the big hill to cross over SH1 and towards Mountain Tracks Rd, called Steep Hill Rd on some maps. Only light traffic, a couple of horses and a bunch of motorcyclists. Under the first gate and no traffic at all. An early lunch was called at a spot overlooking the Waikouaiti River, steep country with rocky escarpments. We enjoyed watching a karearea family flying amongst the rock faces. Sunny warm conditions at this point, no sign of rain.
On along Mountain Tracks Rd, under the next gate, all of us have been there many times on the way back or to the Philip Cox Hut track, trudging this hour of road walking. Good to bike it on ebikes though, enjoyable.
Lots of cars parked at the track entrance to Possum Hut Route, OTMC on their mission of 100 trips for 100 years. The surrounding hills were all freshly harvested, and mega million dollar gear was everywhere, good views without the pines.
We found the right forestry road leading down the hill back towards Evansdale. It was very challenging with loose large gravel, very deep and loose, especially the uphill bits were tricky. Finally on smoother roads the last steep bit back to Evansdale and right on beer o’clock we found ourselves at Arc Brewery for a beverage and debrief.
A very pleasant day’s bike ride with great company, great weather and quite a few laughs.
Those there were, Ross, Maurice, Phyllis, Bill, Noel, Jane, Graham and Robbie (sorry you couldn’t make it Uwe)
Monday, October 10th, 2022
Only 3 members made it for this trip, a classic club trip close to home, where our club has spent many happy days in previous years.
After the cold snap in the previous few days, this weekend the weather gods turned on a fine show, with warm sunny conditions.
A variation to the usual circuit saw us go up to Tabletop on the first day encountering a few wind fallen obstruction on the way just before the Staircase Hut. A relaxing and enjoyable evening was had at the hut, with the fireplace now relatively well behaved and sending most of it’s smoke up the chimney instead of into the hut.
Next morning our ambitious plan was put into action and we started out on the normal Staircase part of the circuit, but instead of heading all the way down the ridge and back to the Mt Misery Rd carpark, we headed down a ridge starting at the big tussocky face about 30 minutes from the hut. The plan was to head down to the river from here and then find a ridge on the other side leading up to the new Kahikatea Hut and follow this up. Maurice had done all the homework needed and had plotted the desired route on his map program which he carried on his phone. It worked out exactly as planned and with small variations depending on the terrain and bush cover encountered was successfully followed and we found ourselves at the new hut for an early lunch. There was a work party busy at the hut with painting, building and logburner placing happening. After lunch the final fairly steep climb back out to the Red Hut and a previously placed vehicle was knocked off.
This trip was enjoyable and covered an area that we have long looked at and wondered about, it was great to have a closer look and we have established a very viable route from Staircase Hut to Kahikatea Hut that will no doubt be used again by others.
Thanks to Maurice and Julian for their company.
Sunday, October 9th, 2022
Snow Skills Weekend
10th and 11th September
Brief introductions commenced and training began.
Within a short distance of the lodge a snowy slope allowed us to don crampons and ice axes where we then learned the rudiments of traversing slopes using various techniques.
As the day progressed, we moved further back into the Awakino Basin and found a suitable slope to practise self-arresting using ice axes.
This was a very informative, fun, and vigorous day and I think we all ended up with various bumps and bruises and in once case a bad sprain if not a possible fracture.
An enjoyable social night was held at the lodge that evening with tales aplenty.
Day two was to be a repeat but the weather curtailed to much activity, so we ended up exploring the basin and using our crampons again, with one member remaining at the lodge due to injury.
On behalf of all the participants I would like to thank the Club for subsidising part of the costs. It was a truly rewarding experience with all participants commented how the learnings will give us greater skills and confidence in the outdoors.
So thanks from Neville, Mark, Nicola, Izzy, Jonathan, Sara, Clare and myself
Friday, September 30th, 2022
25 September 2022
This was a trip that I was meant to lead, but with me injuring my ankle a couple of weeks ago and now being in a moon boot, it was a bit hard for me to go.
But this was not going to stop Rondey & Helen who decided to do it anyway. They set off from the Kinvara car park at 8.35am and although there was a heavy overcast sky, it was calm and relatively warm. They zig-zag’d up a 4WD track and after 2 hours 47 min. at the 1246m mark, they came across an unmarked signpost leading to a stepped foot track. This crossed a snow-filled gully which was a mix of soft snow and a firm icy crust and they soon came across the hut.
After a short break they set off for the crest of the range, heading straight up above the hut, where they managed to find a vague track leading across the northern tributary of six-mile creek. After about half an hour they eventually walked out of the cloud and made it to the edge of the summit plateau. After 4 hours and 20 min they arrived at Summit Rock 1450m and the remains of the beacon frame surrounding trig station H, that was originally established by surveyor JP Arthurs in 1940.
With the cloud drifting back in again, they headed across the range towards Big Hut, arriving there about 1.26pm. They made a short detour up to the tors at point 1347m to visit the rock cairn trig station S, which was established by Charles Barnes Shanks in 1865. It was then back to Big Hut and down the Glencreag Track. After a slow descent they eventually made it down to the fence stile crossing the boundary fence of the Rock and Pillar Conservation Area and the other car park at 3.44pm.
From there if you have not left a car there, it is about a 5.5 km walk down SH87 back to the other car park. All up it was a big day for them with the hike taking about 7 ½ hours with a 1000m climb.
Rodney was texting me during the day, so I did the hike from the comforts of my home with my foot up.
I thank Rodney for the updates during the day and for this information and am glad they had a good day out.
Thursday, September 8th, 2022
The Snow Farm, up Cardrona Valley high on the Pisa Range, offers varied snow experiences including snow-shoeing, cross-country skiing, and snow touring (all equipment can be hired). This year a team of three had booked Daisy Lee Hut for a Sunday night. There are four huts available and all are well supplied with firewood and all kitchen equipment.
If staying in a hut, you can buy a Snow Farm pass from 12pm to 12pm the following day, which gives you plenty of time to leave Oamaru at 7am, arrive at the Lodge by 10.45, and be ready for the snow by 12pm.
Luggage is ferried to the hut by snow mobile so, with only a day pack to carry, we felt comfortably light for the three hour snow shoeing expedition to Daisy Lee Hut. We followed a DOC poled route until arriving at Meadow Hut for afternoon tea, then on to the large new Musterers’ Hut. From here we headed uphill to Bob and Daisy Lee Huts. Views from these two huts are impressive, as they are elevated high on the Pisa Range. Sunset and sunrise over the alps are magnificent.
On Monday, after a cosy night with Uwe cranking up the wood stove, we explored further beyond the Snow Farm boundary into DOC territory, again following poles. We chose the high route under a bright blue sky, with expansive views all around – clear, sunny and sparkling with frosty snow. But as mist came swirling over the top peaks, we thought it wise to head down to the Kirtle Burn valley and follow the stream back to Meadow Hut and the Lodge by 12 noon.
Snow shoeing up on the Pisa Range is quiet and peaceful, with only the crunch of snow underfoot. It is easy and gives one the freedom to explore any of the snowy valleys and hills.