Members, old and new, filled the NOSAR rooms in Severn St. for the Clubs Monthly Meeting.
4 members explored the Silver Peaks with rain forecast later in the day. Their route was along the Green Ridge track, turning down to Possum Hut and down the Waikouaiti River, before heading up the Direct Spur track. After lunch it was off down Rosealla Ridge track to the river again and back up to the cars just as the rain arrived.
Queens Birthday weekend saw 4 members drive to Mavora Lakes for 3 days of exploring. Day 1 was down the TeAraroa trail to the Kiwi-burn hut. Day 2 followed the loop track back to the road and then a walk along North Mavora Lake on a badly rutted 4wd track to Carey’s Hut. Day 3 was a walk out to the car and back home. A cold but enjoyable weekend in a new area for the Club.
The Herbert Forest tracks got another trim and the bait stations checked by 15 members. The catch over the last month was 1 ferret, 4 stoats, 11 rats and 1 hedgehog.
Wednesday Walkers day walks were the popular Tapui 3 peaks and 2 tunnels circuit, Kurow Hill circuit, using the new bike track past the cemetery for the first time, Mts. McKenzie and Trotter behind Waikouaiti where the basalt columns were inspected, and a small group explored Cape Wanbrow on a very cold windy day.
Trips over the next month are to Lake Minchin in the Arthurs Pass area and Quailburn Saddle to Egg lake near Omarama. More information is available on the “what’s on” page.
Guest Speaker was Mark Smillie who was just back from a visit to Qatar. Qatar is a small country on the Persian Gulf, with a local population of 113,000 but with an expat population of 1.3m to do all the work. It has the world’s 3rd largest oil and gas reserves and the highest “mountain” is 103m asl. We were treated to an insight into life there where the port of Doha was built in a year, fresh water comes from desalinization, petrol costs NZ 62c a gallon, camel racing is the popular sport and the police drive Ferraris and Lamborghinis.
A poor forecast for 10 June left expectations low for a good turnout for this working bee, but it turned out that 16 people came including 5 from the various highschools. The mission for the day was a good snip along the tracks and rebaiting the traps and topping up the bait stations. With so many to do the work this task was accomplished comfortably by 2pm just as the rain set in. The kill for the traps was 1 ferret, 4 stoats,11 rats and 1 hedgehog. The bait for this kill was eggs donated by Mainland and rebaiting was done with chicken necks and peanut butter for the sentinels. A great effort and a big thank you to those who came and a special thanks to the high school students.
With a great forecast and outlook for the weekend four of us set off from Goblin Woods just after 3pm on Friday, Bess driving. We had fitted the pushbike in the back ready to drop off somewhere near Kiwiburn Carpark along the way in. Only stopping off briefly in Gore for some Turkish food followed by baklava. After stopping to drop off the bike and lock it onto a fence we arrived at the Mavora Lakes Camping area at the south end of Hikurangi(Upper Mavora Lake) and set up tents for the overnight camp. We quickly found a good spot under the beech trees sheltered from the severe frost settling around us in the clear, it was going to be cold. After a boil up and cuppa’s we had a yarn to some of the other campers sitting around their blazing fire, hunters possumers and fishers. A stroll around to the lake and the surrounding snowy peaks bright as in the near full moon.
It was a chilly night in the tent but invigorated anyway, we got up at 7ish and ate packed and left by 9. No desperate rush as we should have plenty of time to get to Kiwiburn Hut for that night. Over the first swing bridge crossing the passage in between the 2 lakes, its a slow flowing river. The sign said 2.5 hrs to the next swing-bridge at the bottom of the South Mavora Lake. This is a part of Te Araroa and also the Mavora Walkway. It’s beautiful and not difficult going along beech, tussock grassy flats and more beech, a break at the next swing bridge for a snack. We carried on along a slow deep part of the Mararoa River as it flowed out of the South Mavora Lake. Heading for the last swingbridge in the vicinity of where the bike was left and the turn off to our intentioned route which was the loop track around to the Kiwiburn Hut. A minor navigational glitch when we found another junction prior to this which was named the Terrace Track but was unmarked on any map and in the end we decided not to follow this track only being able to guess where it came out.
It was 1.45 by the time we came to the junction and the turnoff for the loop was posted as 3.5 h, the direct route posted as 1.5 h and we choose the more direct track because of the shortness of the day. As it turned out we arrived at Kiwiburn Hut before 3 and it was a great location for that time of the day with full sun and relative warmth. Two others were there but away at the time, plenty of room with 10 bunks free. A potbelly klondyke on one side stacked with fresh wood all around it, a warm night was promised and delivered. Another couple arrived and the ones away returned from a hunt, a large Maori man and a tiny Norwegian woman and a young dog named Pippie. It was a busy warm night with the usual laughs and stories.
An early wake up for the hunters ensured bed by about 9. We woke up to the fire already going and the hut warmer than what we usually find. The party split here and after breakfast and packing 3 went around the loop track and 1 went back directly, crossing the last swing bridge and reunited with the push bike. Initially it was a struggle to get traction against a steady slow climb and a strong headwind as well as trying to eat a bit of early lunch. In the end the food won and the biking got easier after a brief stop and became very pleasant for the section in the forest and around the lake.
Back at the camping area and the bike was packed back into the truck and the truck then driven to pick up the 3 loop walkers. The group now reunited and ready for the next bit of the adventure. We were advised by campers to drive beyond the next carpark going north and attempt the 4WD track leading to our destination Carey’s Hut. This turned out to be bad advice and the truck had to be extradited from loose gravel only meters from the start with the help of some young noisy ones in 4WD’s and noisy quadbikes. We were grateful for their help nevertheless. The next 2 hour walk was on a very badly damaged 4WD track which has suffered much abuse and looks bad and is difficult to walk on when the ice turns to mud and the wallow holes are nearly 1 meter deep. We saw no other walkers even though this is Te Araroa, only noisy bike, quadbikes and 4WD’s and fizzboats on the lake.
We arrived at Carey’s Hut to find it occupied by a family with a boat, there were 8 there already in a 6 bunk hut with enough gear spread around the hut to fill it. We erected the one tent we’d brought and got it ready to accommodate the inevitable over flow from the hut. More 4WDers arrived and set up camp. As the afternoon turned to an icy evening there were more arrivals looking for room in the hut, some in 4WD’s, one more walking. Eventually the hut fitted most with just 4 being turned away in their truck. One slept out in the tent and the temperature fell low enough to freeze the water bottle inside the tent. An early night, with little room in the hut for all to be comfortably sitting.
After the usual activities in the morning we were walking in crispy frozen conditions for the return 3 hours to the truck, a much more enjoyable walk in the hard icy conditions compared to the previous day. The sun eventually shone on us about halfway back and we stopped for snacks and a look, arriving back at the truck at midday for a lunch and then the long drive home. This was a great early winter walk, the first part of the walk beating the second hands down due mainly to the activities of vehicle users in this conservation area which leaves a very large footprint indeed. Thanks to Bess for driving and John and Marion for coming too. Robbie
Sunday 20 May 2018
This was a trip the Otago Tramping Club did in November last year and it looked like an interesting trip. Four of us meet early at 7.30am and headed for the Silver Peaks car park, with the weather outlook looking not bad for the day with strong N/W winds changing to a cold front and rain by late afternoon.
We set off about 9am and took the Green Ridge Track to the old Green Hut site. We then took the track down the ridge, dropping steeply near the bottom to Possum Hut. After a wee break followed a good track down the South branch of the Waikouaiti River, which was more like a creek, for about a 1 km till we found the track we were looking for over the river. After crossing the river we followed a good track for about 200m until it split into two tracks. With no signs on which was the way to go we took the high track that went up. The track was well worn but in some places the ground cover was starting to take over.
After about an hour of uphill we came to another intersection with what was the other track that we had decided not to take further down. This time the tracks were marked and we found we had come up the Direct Spur track while the other track was the Cedar Spur track. From here it was a bit of a grunt up onto Rosealla Ridge arriving about 1pm. Lunch was had beside the Rosealla Ridge track in the bush to get out of the strong wind that had picked up.
We then followed the Rosealla Ridge track N/E over Little Pulpit Rock for about an hour, with great views when we weren’t getting bowled over by the wind, until we came to the Hunters Access track which took us steeply back down into the valley below. It was then back up the river track, checking the map a couple of times as there were a few tracks going in different directions and we wanted to take the direct track back up to the road near Possum hut. We starting the last steep climb up to the road about 4.30pm and got back to the Vehicle at 5.15pm just as the rain and the cold front started to come through.
It was a big day out, but a goodie. Thanks to John, Bess and Marian for your company for the day.
24 May 2018
We have been informed by Port Blakely that later next week, they will begin harvesting trees near the top of Breakneck Rd, near the top of the Hoods Creek Track. Any walkers crossing from the top of Hoods Creek Track to the top of the Podocarp Track need to be aware of logging trucks coming down Breakneck Rd onto Couches Rd and out Middle Ridge gate. Walkers going to the bottom of Hoods Creek, at the pond intersection, there will be logging trucks on Breakneck Rd, through to Middle Ridge Rd.
They will be harvesting for about 3 months, after which they have a number of other areas to harvest. This includes right on the intersection of Diamond Hill and Breakneck Rd, near the top of the Hoods Creek Track, plus near the top of the Podocarp. There will be a digger working here soon to prepare the road for trucks so please stay well away from machinery, until you have caught the attention of the operator. We will advise closer to the time for these later areas.