Maitland Hut/Dumb Bell Lake

7th – 9th February

The two trip options for this weekend were combined to form a new one, as numbers were not sufficient to complete both trips.

The new plan was to go from Lake Ohau Station up the Maitland Stream to Maitland hut, day two a day walk up to Dumb-bell Lake and return and day three return to Lake Ohau Station.

The Maitland Valley in previous visits has been a place which we would have had to ourselves, but not so this time as over the three days our party met fourteen other people, with six tents pitched around the hut plus a large family of mice living in the hut with a continuous buffet from a food stash in a polystyrene box which they had chewed through.

On day one we drove to Lake Ohau Station, checked in with the manager then drove across to the fenceline and 4WD track.

After a one hour walk up the 4WD track we came across a boot on a post indicating the start of our track across some steep sided scree slopes in the direction of a patch of beech trees named the “Beehive”

The track descended to the Maitland Stream alternating with beech forest and river flats to come to a crossing followed by a steep climb and a short pleasant walk where a couple of riflemen were sighted in the trees through to the hut.

With three tents pitched we settled in to enjoy the rest of the day relaxing in the sunshine.

The two who slept in the hut were entertained by the busy mice family, while a noise of a different kind emulated from the tents.

Day two dawned overcast for the trip to Dumb-bell Lake but with a much lighter pack we set off through the bush track to the open tussock valley with spear-grass waiting for their victims. After a few spots of rain the day improved to sunshine, no parkas required.

Following the outlet stream from Dumb-bell was slow going over some boulder sections, tall tussock and spear- grass but by noon we had climbed 600m to reach the lake and what a scene awaited us. It was bathed in sun with some shadows around making the difficult walk worth all the effort getting there.

Lunch was taken by the lakeside while watching some ducks enjoying their large swimming pool and then it was time to consider the return journey.

To avoid part of the valley travel we climbed another 50mtrs south and up onto a shingle ridge where we were rewarded with great views of the waterfall from the outlet of Dumb-bell Lake making the effort worthwhile.

Once back in the Maitland Valley, travel became easier as we arrived back at the hut for a well-deserved brew at about 5pm.

On day three we woke to a good frost. With breakfast over packing up frosty tents made for some cold fingers which were soon warmed on the walk out.

We met the sun near the track connection to the 4WD track and enjoyed the picturesque scene of the Dobson Valley and surrounds while arriving back at the vehicle at 11.30am which made for good timing for lunch at The Wrinkley Ram in Omarama.

Thanks to Bron, Phyllis, Julian and Robbie

Maurice.