Craig and I drove to St Arnaud after work on Friday evening. We parked near the west bay and set off in the dark. A bit under two hours and we were at Coldwater Hut. Annu had walked in at a more sensible time and met us there.
On Saturday we set off early along the track towards John Tait Hut. It was a fresh morning and the sun was out but struggling to get into the valley. We took a right and started ascending the Cascade Track to Angelus Hut. After quite some time in the forest the track emerged and we stopped for some warm sunshine and wraps by the track. Continuing on the track got steeper turning into a poled route. It was amazingly perfect weather, a fresh crisp winter feeling. There were patches of snow and ice on the route to navigate but it wasn’t too difficult to reach the top. DoC hadn’t yet taken out the bridge crossing the stream, which the website promised they would do.
We arrived at Angelus Hut and spent the afternoon outside in the sun drinking the whisky Craig had brought with him and sitting up on the hill behind the hut.
On Sunday we walked out via Robert’s Ridge. It was another amazingly sunny and still day. The route reminded me a bit of Europe. I’d forgotten how nice a autumn/winter day can be. It was great to be out. We dawdled along the ridge arriving at the carpark late in the afternoon. We said goodbye to Annu and I drove Craig to the airport for his flight back to Wellington.
I’m lying in the Crow Hut after a nice day of tramping with Jeremy.
It went like this. Katie and I drove down to Klondyke corner and picked up Jeremy from there in the morning leaving his car in the car park.
We started walking up the avalanche peak track. Katie told us to go ahead as she wanted to walk her pace. We walked ahead and took a break at the bush line. It was sunny but fresh but it looked like the weather might pack in later. We kept going. It was warm in the sun but then the cloud rolled in as we reached the last climb to the summit ridge. The cloud vanished again as we reached the ridge and we had great views and almost no wind at the top.
We dropped off the summit towards Bealy and then looped back around under Avalanche Peak to a saddle. Then it was a descent into the main ridge towards Rolleston.
We had periods of cold wind and then points where it was completely still again.
It was mostly sunny.
We stopped for lunch and I decided that it wasn’t too shabby all in all.
The scree descent is well marked and the screes before this all end in bluffs so should be avoided.
Unfortunately the scree was decidedly average and not runnable. We slipped and slid down the slope trying not to do our ankles (as we are old men after all).
Once at the bottom it was a short walk down stream to the very nice Crow Hut.
A family showed up later in the afternoon and pitched tents outside the hut.
We drank a lot of tea and ate a variety of junk food and freeze dry meals.
A nice day of tramping.
Hopefully it won’t rain tomorrow and we’ll scamper out the Waimak and head home.
It took us about 4.5 hours-ish with breaks to get to Crow Hut.
It was grey and threatening to rain as we left the hut but we could see blue sky down in the valley. We walked down the crow river leaving the spots of rain behind and emerged at the waimak. We were greeted by a rainbow and nice views up the valley. The mountains reminded me of Europe. We walked out to the car and headed back to Christchurch.
I flew down to Christchurch on Thursday and worked remotely on Friday (although a healthy amount of time was spent drinking beer with Nick at the adventure park). In the evening Katie, Gina, Cass, Simon and family, and I drove to Port Levy Saddle and walked to the Rod Donald Hut. Due to all manner of disorganised-ness we arrived at the saddle at different times in different cars. I transported (formerly) my ladies and noted that I was slowly paying down my massive taxi-ing debt that I racked up in my previous pre-Europe life. They noted that the debt was great and the trip was short.
The Smalley’s had already set off when we arrived at Port Levy Saddle and after some faffing we did too. It was a short walk to the hut. We walked along the ridge in the moonlight with just a couple of headlamps between the four of us. Once at the hut we made hot chocolates and desserts and the girls toasted marshmallows on a candle that Gina lit. After the kids went to bed we lay outside in the grass near the hut. It was a warm night with some wind. The hills were illuminated by the almost full moon. It was very nice. We kept an eye on the stars and chatted. I asked Gina if the last 21 years had been good. We retired later to the hut to sleep.
The hut is a tidy nine bunk arrangement that you can book. I’d booked it all, which was nice.
On Saturday we made pancakes downstairs in the kitchen and started the day slowly. Before leaving, we hid Easter eggs outside for the girls to relive the great Otehake Easter Egg hunt from days gone by. The walk out was short again and we drove down to Little River for lunch. Such are the ways of us cafe dwelling types.
Gina and Katie headed off home and the rest of us went to Okains Bay for a night of camping.