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MidWinter tramping Arthur’s Pass - 7th-15th July 2012

Last post 21-08-2012, 7:05 PM by Pia. 0 replies.
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  •  21-08-2012, 7:05 PM 6399

    MidWinter tramping Arthur’s Pass - 7th-15th July 2012

    MidWinter tramping Arthur’s Pass

    7th – 15th July 2012


    Saturday - 7th July

    Finally holiday and then you decide to wake up at 5am after only 2 or 3 hours of sleep because Friday the 6th was the last night your flatmate could go party before going over seas…


    I had a nice walk to the ferry trying to convince myself that I had not forgot anything and that I would be there in time. With a short stop at NewWorld I was the last one at the ferry but still on time. That was a new experience with the tramping club, all to be there in time :o)

    The ferry left on time, 8am… We were off for adventure. But now it was time for a bit of sleep and then the South Island.


    Half sleeping in the car meant a little detour… sometimes it’s not that easy to see the turn off! But Magpies know how to wake you from your sleep, just try to meet a suicidal Magpie and the whole car is filled with the sound from the bird hitting the windscreen - it sounded as though the windscreen was smashed. I think the Magpie was trying to play Angry Birds in real life… It did look like a very dead bird falling to the ground behind the car with feathers falling like snow afterwards, what a sight!



    Dinner was found in Greymouth with the sun setting in the horizon.


    Arthur’s Pass was reached and the real tramp could begin, we just needed to get a car at the other end, so Andrew, Sebastian and me made sure the cars was placed right and the rest of the group was send off with about an hour head start. We made it back to the start of the track and made great progress and after 2 1/2 hours and a few river crossings (remember your gaiters the first time you cross barefoot!!) we started our search for the hut... it took us 3 hours to realize that we couldn’t find it and needed sleep so we pitched up the fly to get some sleep (2am). I’m never going without the first bit of the map ever again!


    Sunday – 8th July

    In the morning we could see the DOC sign far up the 7 mile creek where we went down the river towards Taipo the night before (we thought it was the one mile creek). We found the hut and the others and it turned out that they had been looking for the hut for 4 hours. If we had walked straight to the Dillon Hut we would have found it first!


    So before we woke and got everything packed down and found the hut got breakfast with the other and got off towards the next hut (Mid Taipo) it was 11am. After a bit of walking and finally found the cableway we had used way too much time to make it for Julia that day. DOC times said 2-3 hr from Dillon to Mid Taipo but it took us about 6 hr. Thus Mid Taipo became our next night shelter. A six bunk standard hut for 10 people, but we managed to get dinner and a good night sleep with all of us inside the small hut.


    Monday – 9th July

    Everything was one day late from here... We left in the two groups of 5 and got to Julia after a cruisy day in the snow covered landscape. We reached Julia just after noon and made it there for the last bit of sun before the sun disappeared behind the mountains. The other group turned up about 2 hours later with heaps of energy to start dig out the hot pools after a snow fight!



    Nice hot pools right next to the freaking cold river.


    Tuesday – 10th July

    Time for our longest day, the day to cross the Harman Pass. We started our long day early, with aim of leaving at 7am, it only got to 7.20am, not too bad ;o) The first part of the track was following markers through the forest on side of the river, though farther up we ended up crossing Mary Creek heaps of times because the group decided it was easier and faster to go via the river than walking in the snow. It took us so much longer than I thought it would even though I could see from the previous two days that we were much slower than the DOC times. We were at Harman Pass (Saddle) at 3pm...



    Harman Pass – Group photo :o)


    With this progress it got dark before we made it down to White River, but we were so much faster down, though the slopes was pretty steep at times and we had to walk in one long line in the steps of the person in front. At the bottom and some hours later we wanted to find the cableway but without luck so we followed the river and crossed it and with a tiny bit of navigation we found the track and Carrington Hut, 7.35pm.


    After this long day I really wanted to let the radio guys know that we were safe down again so Eleanor and I tried to get the aerial up to reach Chch at 7.30pm but they couldn't hear us! The next sked was at 8am, but we couldn’t get through that one either… had to wait to the next night. It ended up being a late night because of the late dinner. It was nice to finally be in a hut where we all could be in a bunk by us self and not share and heaps of space around. Think we went to bed at 1am after a bit of a tramping party :o)


    Wednesday – 11th July

    Time for a pit day at Carrington and breakfast on the deck in the sun. We were a few who went out to explore the area to see if we could find the cableway that disappeared the night before. But before we found the cableway a huge slop had taken the track away so we probably went the better way the night before. After finding the cableway and seeing our footprints just underneath, dough... Sacha, Ivan, Eleanor, Jen and I made Cairns for the next people to find the way around the huge slip. Then back to Carrington for more food and just relaxing!



    Breakfast in the sun at Carrington.


    Thursday – 12th July

    After the weather forecast from Wellington the night before and the news of semi-good weather for Thursday Eleanor and I decided to take a smaller group to Crow Hut instead of another pit day at Carrington. All our days so far apart form crossing the pass had been quite easy. Mae, Sebastian, Anna and Andrew decided to stay in Carrington Hut and went to explore a waterfall just off White River (152m if I remember). The rest of us went to Crow (Ivan, Dana, Eleanor, Sacha, Jen and I).


    Everything takes so much longer in snow and definitely in heavy melting snow. Crow Hut was quite nice, double glazing and all... though no axe, so we had to fit the logs that was already there and no water tap either, Dana was the one who made the sacrifice of warm feet to go through the snow and rain to get water from the river – Thanks Dana! We played cards and had a feast before bed with corned beef and massed potatoes, yumm.


    Friday – 13th July

    I woke next morning 1 or 2 hours before my alarm because I heard the rain starting to get worse than it was the night before. I had the river crossing of the Waimak in my head (Get down fast but safe, get down safe but fast...). I know it's not possible to cross the Waimakariri river if it gets too big and we could get stuck on the wrong side. We got up to the sound of Jamie Cullum, had breakfast, packed our stuff and walked off in the pouring rain. It took us the time I predicted - 3 hours from Crow to Anti-Crow hut. We were all soaking wet when we got there and lucky we were the first there (another 6 bunk hut for 10 people). Mae and the others came 1-2 hours later. We ended the night with some card games before we went to bed.



    Anti-Crow Hut – Nice, small and smelly!


    Saturday – 14th July

    Anti-Crow Hut is probably the smallest hut we were in on the trip and after a whole day of rain it ended up smelling really bad. Not making it better that the other group left the dishes of fish pie and pasta for the next morning! Andrew, Sebastian, Dana and I went out a bit earlier than the other. Andrew and Sebastian went to pick up the car at the other end of the track while Dana and I went to the DOC office to find the weather forecast for the South Island. Then we could decide where to go put up the tents for the night. Further we had to report the 4 blue ducks we saw on our trip, two up towards Harman Pass and two on our way to Crow Hut.


    After a look at the weather and a talk to the others when we came back to the Bealey Hotel – nice warm and good food – we decided to go to Kaikoura as it was the only (hopefully) dry place. We had dinner in Kaikoura and then a bit north to find the camp site for the night.


    Sunday – 15th July

    We woke at the camp site with the sun shining and a warm breeze at the breakfast table.


    On our way to the ferry we had a stop at a waterfall which still had a lot of seal pups playing around. But time to get back to Picton and Wellington. Straight north… HOME



    Thanks for a great trip people!


    Gear custodian - 2012

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