11th-12th November 2017
We left Oamaru at 4pm Friday, stopped for tea in Omarama and then reached the road end up the south side of Lake Ohau at 7pm. It took us two hours to walk in to Monument Hut where we pitched our tents. Saturday morning, we left at 7.45am and started along the high water track which goes along the bush towards the Huxley River swingbridge. A lot of this track had windfall so we were in and out of the bush quite a lot. Once over the swingbridge, we went up, over and down to the river flats and walked along for a while and then back into the bush. We continued on the high river track through the bush on the true left of the river for about 45 minutes and then out onto the river flats. About 2 km before the Huxley Forks Hut, there had been an avalanche off Boanerges. After reaching Huxley Forks Hut, Bill, John, Jane, Jen and I went for a walk down the South Huxley branch, coming to a massive slip. On our return, we ran into two hunters with a cross bow and shotgun on their way to find some tahr hopefully. It was surprising how many people and animals were in the Huxley Valley – toddlers and cats, to name a few. The hut was empty so some opted to sleep inside while Jen, Jane and Jenny opted for their tents.
On Sunday morning we saw that the hunters had got a tahr, obviously with a shotgun. We left the hut at 7.45am and headed straight down the valley along the river flats. A few hours and several river crossings later we reached the Huxley river swingbridge. Surprise – Bill’s Croc was waiting for him – it must have come off his pack the previous day. Soon after this, Jenny lost her sunglasses so went back to find them, luckily they were just 30 metres back. From here, it was only an hour on to Monument Hut where we had lunch and met up with OTMC President Richard Forbes and his father. After a two hour walk to the cars, we had a quick debrief at the Wrinkly Ram and then home.
Thanks for your company John, Bill, Vicky, Mike, Jenny, Jane and Jen. Bess
13th November 2017
The recent 40th Anniversary of the North Otago Tramping and Mountaineering Club was held at Purton’s Café, Maheno. It was enjoyed by 61 people, with half of them being past members. A great meal followed by cutting of the cake by founding members and many stories told resulted in a successful function.
Past weekend trips include a tramp into the Youngman Stream Hut via Tarn Hut in the Puketeraki Range, and a trip to Huxley Forks Hut and South Huxley stream. A Working Bee in the Herbert Forest cleared tracks and windfall plus step maintenance. Wednesday Walkers have been to Saltwater Creek, Trotters Gorge, Anderson’s Lagoon and also had a Herbert Forest Working Bee.
Our Speaker for the evening was Past President, Jane Green who, with husband, Graeme, recently enjoyed a cycling trip in Cuba. Starting from Havana, the Exodus company provided local Tour Guides and a support bus for those who wanted a break from cycling. Being a communist and egalitarian society, Cuba has an excellent Health and Education system. The people seem contented and quite social. Everyone has a job, however it may only be for a few hours per week. Of every dollar earned, 68% goes to paying back Government debt.
Labour Weekend 20th – 22nd October 2017
A change in plans because of the weather forecast saw us going to the Puketeraki Forest Conservation area in inland Canterbury instead of the Thousand Acre Plateau near Murchison.
Four of us set off at 8.30am on Friday and drove to Oxford for an early lunch and then along the narrow winding Lees Valley Road for 29kms to a gateway and DOC sign and then a further 3.5kms on a 4WD vehicle track to a carpark.
An easy amble across farmland on a marked track beside the Ashley River took us to a knee-deep crossing of the Lilburne River and then through stands of mountain beech trees, which were a relief to be under as the temperature was up to 24degrees when we left the carpark.
Although there was little sign of deer or possums not many birds could be heard in the beech forest which was covered with a lot of honeydew.
A high sidle to avoid a gorgy section and then a downhill track lead us to a crossing of the Ashley River where we reached the 6 bunk Youngman Stream Hut at 700mtrs our destination for the night after 5hours of walking.
The hut had been built in 1975 for the Forest Service, but had been recently tidied up and freshly painted. We thought we were the only people there for the night, but after getting a fright from a big brown dog the next morning we discovered that a party of 3 hunters and 3 dogs had arrived at 2am and camped out in the tussocks above the hut.
With a cooler morning we re-crossed the Ashley River and started to climb up to the high point, Lilburne Hill (1405 mtrs) Once again we were in young beech forest on a well marked track. This changed after passing through some more mature trees and then out into the open amongst dracophyllum, low scrub and tussock across the tops. As there was a cool wind on top we had a quick snack sheltering in the tussocks and then set off downwards across pig rootings to Tarn Hut (1270 mtrs) arriving at 11am.
The hut, a 4 bunker beside a sizeable tarn has also been painted and tidied up by DOC and NZ Alpine Club volunteers. After settling in and having lunch we gathered wood for the fire which was lit in due course. As there was no toilet, a shovel was provided to dig a hole over the ridge away from the tarn. Hopefully in the future DOC will build one as the tarn is the only water source and could easily become polluted.
By the evening 12 other people with 4 tents had arrived and a couple passed through on route to Youngman Hut.
The next morning was cool and breezy as we left on an old 4WD track and made our way downhill to the junction and the Lilburne River crossing.
A falcon was spotted soaring near a rocky face on our way back out.
The carpark had swelled from having just our car to 10 vehicles with 2 more on the roadside by the gate.
We arrived back in Oamaru at 4pm after stopping once again for lunch at Oxford.( We can all recommend the Shefield Bakery for excellent food and good service).
This tramp is a delightful circuit with varied scenery and good comfortable huts which can be walked in 2 or 3 days, but because of the number of people we encountered, I feel it will become very popular, especially with the proximity to Christchurch.
Thanks for the company of Bronwyn, John and Maurice.