13th January 2019
Leaving Oamaru early meant that we were on the track by 7.45am. Five of us met Lily and Dion at the Nimrod Reserve Campsite as they had opted to camp there Saturday night. Lily is completing the Silver Duke of Ed Award. The forecast for the day was for wind and rain later in the afternoon so we were well equipped. The track up through the bush was muddy after recent rain. Once through the bush and at the grassy clearing on top, we turned right onto the poled route which quickly led us up to the gate and then onto the Easement Track. The estimated time from the campsite to the end of the Easement Track was 3 hours and we reached the Conservation Area in 2.5 hours so we were making good time. We were still following a 4WD track on the conservation land and at one point, we got a glimpse of Aoraki. The 4WD track continued to sweep around to the north west. We had been on the go for about 5 hours and three of the party had opted to turn back to the Nimrod Reserve. We still had really good weather, no low cloud, very little wind and no sign of rain at this stage. Flynn, Dean, Maurice and I continued up the track in the west direction, which took us around the back and up to the top of Mt Nimrod. Maurice got there at 12.45, while we trailed soon after. There were great views from the top, Timaru Port, Mt Studholme to name a few. On the way back down, there was plenty of chatter, plus the masses of flowering Celmisia seemed to be highlighted. The rain started at 3.30 and we got back to the vehicle at 5pm. A great day out with a new member, Kirsty.
Thanks for your company. Lily and Dion, Flynn, Dean, Kirsty, Maurice and Bess.
15th- 16th December 2018
Canyon Creek in the Ahuriri Valley, a place I have visited many times before, but this latest visit with five club members was probably the most perfect I have seen with sunny skies, wind free warm conditions and after recent rain and late snow falls the water falls were performing at their best.
Our departure from Oamaru at 7.30am saw us leaving behind a misty damp day but soon to be in sunshine as we approached the valley lakes and beyond to the Ahuriri Conservation Park.
Sadly the local council have stopped maintaining the road just after the Ben Avon Reserve, leaving many pot holes for several kilometes to Birchwood Homestead. Beyond there the 4WD track to the carpark was reached with the help of Neville’s high clearance 4WD vehicle.
The day was already quite warm at 10.30am as we set off across the flats to Canyon Creek and the first test of uphill fitness where at the top a view into the Canyon Gorge was the first of many magic sights.
Once down the other side and out onto the river flats we were ready for lunch under the cooling shelter of the beach trees.
As we approached the lower cirque it was hard to concentrate on foot placement with all the stunning waterfalls and landscapes to take in.
The track out to the Upper Valley is an honest workout and we were pleased to see flat land again.
Some melting avalanche debris was present in a gully crossed to reach the Upper Canyon adding to the beautiful scenery.
The way to the Bivy Rock, our destination involved picking the best cairned route as there is quite a lot of rock hopping and the heat of the day was starting to tell. As we rounded the corner in the valley and the large Bivy Rock came into view my thoughts of what I had in my pack to revive me spurred me on.
A magic place and we had not seen another person all day.
With the four tents pitched we gathered around the rock with billies soon boiling and settled back to soak up some more of the stunning views all around.
At about 9pm we retired to our tents as the warm day had taken its toll so sleep came easy.
Sunday dawned with the sound of a kea, although unsighted and the promise of another fine day but the planned climb to Mt Heim was replaced with a stroll to the head of the valley.
On reaching the headwall, Neville got close enough to take in the cold spray of a waterfall, while Bron with camera in hand went searching out the many alpine flowers.
With the sun now making its way into the valley we packed up and returned down the creek, detouring off to view the stream’s journey over the edge of the cirque and plunge twisting and turning its way to the valley below.
After meeting up with the track again we made our way down to the lower valley stopping off for lunch in the shade under the beach trees.
Frequent stops by the cooling streams for drinks and soaking sunhats were made before reaching the car park with the temperature at 28 degrees.
Thanks to Bronwyn, Phyllis, Forester and Neville for making this another memerable weekend.
The November meeting was attended by 28 people. A reminder was given about the Herbert Forest Guided Walks Day on 14 April 2019.
Some interesting trips had taken place: to Glenorchy at Labour Weekend where trampers stayed at an excellent new eco camping ground.Walks went up the Glacier Burn in the Humboldt mountains, and they spent a day up Mt. Judah exploring sites and remains of old scheelite mines. There was also a walk around Lake Sylvan.Other trips were a Waimate mountain biking trip and up Dromedary Hill off the Lindis Pass.
Wednesday Walkers went to Herbert Forest and had a very windy walk on Mt. Miserable. They also went to Shannon(near Outram) for a farm walk and from Andersons’ Lagoon to the Shag River, seeing many shags and their young nesting in rows along the cliffs. There was also a walk from Otekaieke to Kurow partly on the A2O trail and mostly along the Waitaki.
The main part of the evening was Marion Shore’s account and photographs of her recent trip to Nepal where she trekked for 28 days in an area with no road access in Phoksundo National Park. Her group of 13 was accompanied by 35 mules, some horses and 13 guides and helpers. The trek began at Jephal (altitude 2,500 metres). The highest pass the crossed on the trip was 5,560m. from where they could see the Anapurna Ranges.A day’s trekking was between four and a half and nine hours, covering between 12 and 23km.daily and often accompanied by some altitude sickness.Trekkers walked up towards the Tibetan border and back down to departure from Jomsen.
Among many notable features was the masterly dry stone walling often for terracing for buckwheat and barley cropping. Potatoes were also a staple crop in many areas.Many stone chortens(shrines) and prayer wheels – one made from Budweiser cans- were passed en route. At higher altitudes were houses where the men lived while taking yaks for summer pasture,trading and carrying milled timber while the women tended crops and wove yak hair for tents and also spent months making traditional woollen blankets which could be sold.These areas were home to the last examples of a nomadic way of life.. Yak trains were usually between 10-20 animals although they met a caravan of 30, and the yaks and drivers shared narrow paths with the trekkers.
Phoksundo Lake,the deepest in Nepal, was a stunning sight – brilliant blue within a cup of mountains.Apples were grown and dried all through Upper Dolpo, and when they reached Mustang there was bush and lush growth, a result of careful water harvesting.
Medical care was scarce but schools were funded by overseas agencies with trained volunteer teachers.
We were given a picture of such a different way of life and stunning scenery, experienced and seen by few people in this world and we were fortunate to have the opportunity to share some of this adventure.
Sunday 11 November 2018
Four trampers set off from Oamaru at 7.30am. One and three-quarter hours and 140km later they arrived at the parking area just east of the Dalrachney Stream bridge on the Lindis Pass road where they met up with two more trampers who had driven from Clyde.
At 9.25am we set off through a gate on to the poled route along an easement through Longslip Station. At 9.35 we turned back having missed the crossing point on Dalrachney Stream. We eventually crossed and carried on along the poled route which followed the stream up a broad, flat valley. Three more crossings ensured that feet were well wet by the time we reached the gate into the Conservation Area at the end of the flat, 5km from the start. It would be another 5km distance and 900 metres climb to the top of Dromedary Hill. The track continued up the narrowing valley before turning north to start climbing. A few hundred metres up we stopped for smoko in the shade of a clump of remnant beech trees. It was encouraging to see that destocking had allowed beech seedlings to spread out from the clump promising long term recovery of native forest.
Smoko over, we climbed up the zig-zag track until we reached a fenceline on a ridge, which we then followed up to a saddle, where we turned west towards the now-visible summit. It now being just after 1 o’clock, we stopped for lunch at a spot with views and shelter from the cold southerly breeze. We estimated that it would be at least half an hour to the summit, so we set a turnaround time of 2.30pm and set off again. Some more fairly steep gravelly zigs and zags and a final climb through tussock along a fence, turning left at a gate, and we were on the snow-clad summit by 2pm. Extensive views were admired, with much speculation about the possible positions of Mounts Aspiring and Barth. The nearer hills were very picturesque with their dusting of snow and the Martha Saddle, which some had crossed on the Breast Hill-Ahuriri track earlier in the year, was spotted across the valley of the Avon Burn.
At 2.20 we headed back. The return trip was straightforward, apart from one deviation to explore alternative routes, and we got back to the cars just after 5pm. A fine day, a satisfying climb and good company: Marian, Julie, Helen, Rodney, and Neville. John
Labour Weekend 2018
Leaving Oamaru at 7.45am Saturday with 4 in the van meant that we had some time up our sleeve before meeting the others at Glenorchy at 1pm. We stopped at Tarras for a drink and then Cromwell for some low-priced fuel before hitting the Queenstown Lakes area. We arrived in Glenorchy well before 1pm and spotted Jane, Graham and Karyl at Camp Glenorchy so we booked into our bunkroom. With a full van, we met Kim and Mark down at the iconic red shed and then we all travelled around towards Kinloch where the Glacier Burn Track is. Everyone was keen to get walking. The track starts on the true right on the stream but within a 100m, there is a crossing to the true left and the well-formed track stays on this side right, through beech forest, up to the Glacier basin. Two hours later, we reached the basin, below some snow. Back to the vehicles and Camp Glenorchy. We were lucky enough to be there for the “Great Glenorchy Getaway Weekend” which offered barbeques, food stalls, entertainment, to name a few. So that night, Camp Glenorchy opened their bar and put on a BBQ which we took advantage of. Camp Glenorchy is self-sustainable so they have solar panels, composting toilets, automatic doors, sensor lighting, sensor drying room, devices in rooms to maintain optimum oxygen levels throughout the night and thermo controlled underfloor heating. There is a huge lounge and dining area plus a large kitchen. The sculptures, paving and landscaping are superb.
Sunday morning with the sun shining, we started up the Mt Judah track at 8.45am, viewing the Scheelite mining history on the way. At 10.30 we reached the junction where the Mt McIntosh track begins, spotting a corrugated iron hut about half way up Mt McIntosh. We continued up the Mt Judah track and reached the end of it at 11.15am. Here we encountered the Kea to everyone’s delight as it played with walking poles and packs. We reached the Boozer Hut just after opening thankfully, and then lunched in the shade at the Bonnie Jean Hut soon after 12pm. The Bonnie Jean Hut and an old workshop next door both had iron bars installed to prevent people going in and so to preserve the contents within. Nearby was an old Massey Fairhall under cover. While lunching, we were entertained by another Kea. Within 45 minutes, we were at the Heather Jock Hut, where we met up with a woman and a Kea. Her husband was away climbing Mt Alaska, he had also carried his bike to the hut – very keen!! From here, we walked down the long zigzag to Jean Hut, unique in that it has rocks tied to wire and standards to keep the roof on! The exterior of these huts was all constructed with old iron bits and pieces so there was no wood at all.
Just after the Jean Hut, we met up with the Mt Judah track again and called in to look at the Scheelite mines and then back to the van by 4.30pm.
After a hot day, some sampled Ginger Beer from Crimson Badger Brewing’s at Mrs Woolly’s General Store while some sampled her ice creams. Everyone was keen for a shower, followed by cold refreshments and a meal at the pub. On the way back, we opted to bypass the Valley Blue Grass Band playing at Mrs Woolly’s General Store, in favour of resting in the luxurious lounge at Camp.
Monday morning, we left Kim and Mark to possibly go biking on the Diamond Creek Track. The rest of the group spent a couple of hours walking the Lake Sylvan circuit which is a Scenic Reserve of beech forest. After this, we drove down the road to the Routeburn Shelter for a look. On our way back to Glenorchy, we stopped at the Mt Alfred Track which was an option for Monday but not many were keen for it, possibly a good thing as there was a Caution sign, stating snowfall, windfall and the track obscured in places. It will keep for another time. Back to the pub for lunch and then home for everyone.
Thanks for your company, making it an enjoyable weekend, Kim, Mark, Karyl, John, Neville, Roz, Jane and Graham. Bess