23-25th March 2019
Leaving Oamaru and its overcast drizzly day behind, we travelled in two vehicles towards Omarama, the sun shining. The two vehicles met up just as we turned into Quailburn Road. We started tramping at 9.15am, up through the bush track. There were a lot of trees and branches washed down the stream and apparently it was a lot worse last year but had been cleared somewhat. We reached the East Ahuriri Hut about 11.30am and continued over the East Branch of the Ahuriri River to get onto the Te Araroa Trail which was on the true right. The trail was quite a bit up from the river and it was here we had lunch. At this stage, one member opted to stay at the East Ahuriri Hut and do day trips from there. We continued up the Te Araroa Trail for 2 ½ hours criss crossing the East Branch which was great for thirst quenching. It was surprising the number of trampers we met on the trail. At about 3pm, we went off the trail to the west and up ridge. This ridge was on the true right of the outlet from Tarn 1514. After an hour we dropped down to cross the outlet stream onto the true left and followed that ridge to the Tarn. We reached Tarn 1514 at 5pm, set up camp and settled in. It was beautiful with the sun shining and a slight breeze, a large tarn with a cirque in behind as if protecting all the wildlife that habitates there, including us for the night.
Sunday morning, up with the moonlight and stars, we had a discussion about our day and whether to go to Lake Dumb-bell. With the forecast for rain starting Sunday night and a few physical niggles, we decided not to go to Dumb-bell , instead get back to East Ahuriri Hut by Sunday night. But firstly, we went for a walk up behind the cirque. With just daypacks and a feeling of lightness, we rock hopped our way to above Freehold Creek. While we had a snack we could see Robbie ahead up on the horizon and as he started back down, we thought we would also get going back to the saddle and perhaps get there at the same time. We made our way down the same way and once we reached the saddle, here is Robbie waiting for us!! Back at camp, we had an early lunch, packed up and headed off at 11.30am. We tramped down the ridge on the true right of the tarn outlet stream back down to the Te Araroa Trail. With some rest stops on the way, we got back to the East Ahuriri Hut at 3pm.
A note at the hut suggested the other member would be back at 4pm. Instead of staying the night at the East Ahuriri Hut, we decided that we would walk out to the vehicles but firstly rest up for a couple of hours. Our lone tramper returned and had been busy with daytrips to Egg Lake and to the top of Ohau Peak!! We set off back to the vehicles about 4.15pm and reached them at 6pm.
Unfortunately, Maurice was unable to come on this trip, perhaps next time. Although the initial trip for the weekend was to get to Lake Dumb-bell and I’m sure everyone would have liked to have got there, there was a great group that were prepared to put their thoughts forward and as a result group decisions were made and everyone was satisfied with what route we did take.
Thanks to Robbie for his leadership. Thanks for your company, Kim and Mark, Jenny, Julian, John, Bronwyn and Phyllis. Bess