SNOW GRASS AND SCREE
PRESIDENT Mary Ph (03) 5728762
SECRETARY: Jane Ph (03) 5787441
CLUB CAPTAIN: Murray Ph (03) 5724812
TREASURER: Helen Ph (03) 5728530
E-mail address [email protected]
What a summer we have had, ideal for getting out and about. There are so many options available it is not always about slogging uphill in the heat of the day. Perfect weather for Coastal trips, bike rides , swimming and also for Rock Climbing. The last day at Monkey Bay attracted good numbers and since then the Friday night climbs have been popular. The majority of the new people have now joined the club. Thanks to Steven and Murray for organising these events. I’m sure you are all itching to get to Paynes Ford on 2nd and 3rd March.
Itinerary Jane and Sue have again got a great range of trips on the agenda for March-April and May and this will be available shortly. As you know there is a huge amount of work after names and trips and dates have been collected. Jane has to get property permissions, check costs etc. before she can even think about the job of typing it up. This is the most important role in your club and probably the most thankless. So give them a thank you sometime for all their efforts.
On the 27th January we had our Club BBQ. This was very well attended and it seems to be a better time for everyone rather than during the pre Xmas rush. We had the pleasure of having Jenny and Barry Dunnet from Kaikoura join us as well as some of our newest members. The river was especially inviting in the 34dg heat.
If you found a spare pair of tongs with red handles email me, Mary, as I came home without mine. Thanks Murray and Tanya for your hospitality
Our new projector now comes with extension cord, power box and speakers all in a back pack. Thanks to Steven and Helen - No more getting to the Hall and finding other equipment is required.
Outdoor First Aid Course. Picton Romina has been researching this and come up with an excellent 2 day course that will be specific to our clubs needs. This will be based in Picton with a maximum of 16 participants. There is a set fee for the course but would work out to under $150 if there are 16. Romina has had quite a bit of interest in this but needs a definite commitment from anyone wishing to attend. Mornings will be theory at the Picton Fire Station and afternoons will be practical in the hills and bush of Essons Valley. No date has been set as yet but it is to be held while the weather is still good.
Standards or NZQA: 6400,6401,6402
Please contact Romina Meloni ph 0221663950 [email protected] As soon as possible so that she can finalise dates etc.
and Compass Courses with Buck Beveridge. 24th
April You will see this on the
new itinerary and this is an opportunity to learn new skills from a very
experienced tutor. First part of the day
will be spent in the classroom then
followed by the practical where you get to put it into practice. More details later but you will need the
Blenheim topo map BR28 and a compass. Bring a pen and paper and lunch. If
you have access to a GPS bring that as well as Buck will be able to give you
some pointers on using it along with your map.
It is hoped to hold another course on a Sunday when Buck and Val are back from their travels.
Our face book page now has 272 members and is growing all the time and we have gained a lot of new (and younger!) club members from it. Most who contact me to go out with the club have been inspired by the trip photos posted so keep up the good work.
Our new website plan is still a work in progress but I think summer has got in the way. The easiest thing to do would be to hand it all over to an expert but the costs are horrendous (thousands) and are ongoing. Helmut and I think we have found a solution to this which will work so we are back on track. We have outgrown our old site, limitations have been put onto it and it’s not mobile friendly so time for a change. A good winter project.
Hodder Huts Access number system is working exceedingly well but Helen does have to do a bit of reminding people to pay up. Allan and Bev Pitts are happy with it and we have had some encouraging comments from users about us implementing it. A few amusing ones as well, like “can I book two beds in the newest of the huts for my partner and I”. I believe there was a temptation to email back that they should be sure to bring their hairdryer etc!
EPERB. Kerry wasn’t satisfied with the info he received about the battery life of the EPERB that was set off a few weeks ago so he contacted the Distributers in Auckland direct and on their advice obtained the report from the Rescue Centre and sent it along with the EPERB back to them and it was replaced free of charge. Thanks Kerry, what would we do without you.
New Members this month are. Diana Brooks, Chloe Van De Burgh, Paul Dodds and Sarah and Becky Waters.
Photo Competition Date will be set at the next committee meeting and rules sent out.
We must be mad. I did the Dusky Track at a jog almost, in 1976, then Jenny and I tramped it 16 years ago, finding it challenging enough as we got to, how should I put it, slightly more senior years. It will be too hard, said Jenny. Remember how slow and muddy and slippery rooted it is? Me, remember the hard bits? No. I thought we could do it. After all, we were just going to pick the eyes out of one of the best bits of the track (not really a track at all, mind you. It is a marked route according to DOC classifications). We were going from the head of Lake Hauroko, up the Hauroko Burn, onto the Pleasant Range, where we'd base ourselves and enjoy the delights of the tops before returning back the same way to the lake and the boat back.
We had lots of time, spare days galore. After all the boat only runs twice a week.
Three of us went. Jenny and I and Kaikoura friend Mark. Well, how did we go? It was tough! The 6 hours, lake to Halfway hut standard time, took us 9 hours! Incredible. How could we be so slow?
Maybe me being 75 and Jenny 70 doesn't help. Heavy-ish packs. So much bog to go through/around, so many slippery roots to balance over, so much care needed. The three wired bridges didn't help either. All this making it very slow if we were to arrive in one piece and fortunately we did. The leg from Halfway hut onto the tops at Lake Roe was a little quicker.
We had a great day along the tops to the northern end, where we got our wonderful views of Dusky Sound, the Seaforth Valley and the Merri Range and the row on row of mountains in all fields of view, for us, on this, a typical Fiordland day, with variations of light and texture, from shafts of sunlight to darkened slopes with the odd rain shower and we can't leave out that amazing feeling of
wilderness all around.
That was our one brilliant day on the tops. It rained one day then it started snowing and it snowed all of another day while we shivered in the hut and practically sat on the stove. It snowed through the night and it obviously wasn't going to stop before we left to retrace our steps down valley, by this time, through 30cm of it, extending way down the valley to 400m. That was a very wet, scungy day for us to get back to Halfway hut, but we knew we had a big, dry wood supply to feed the fire and enjoy!
It snowed on the tops all that day, night, and the next, our last spare day, so there must have been more than half a metre of new snow up on the range by then.
Thankfully the weather cleared for us to get back to the lake and the sandfly hordes, in near sunshine.
A wonderful trip, but, as mentioned, tough.
Out for a challenge? Try the Dusky.
A turnout of 14 and a forecast of 16 degrees with cloud cover promised a good days tramping up the Penk River. Our small convoy arrived just short of the start point only to be greeted with a loud and ominous (and expensive) sounding bang from the rear of Geoff’s truck resulting in no drive. A hasty inspection revealed nothing obviously damaged or missing, so decided to continue with the tramp and deal with the truck later.
Water levels were low and the lower river much as remembered – wide, branched and stony.
As we progressed upstream it narrowed, stones replaced by larger rocks, with many river crossings. The upper river was much changed with huge slips, and trees and debris swept into and carried downstream by later rains.
Large rocks had by now become at times huge boulders separated by deep pools and small waterfalls making progress interesting – the rope assisted climb over the largest boulder being largely avoided in favour of rolled-up shorts and the possibility of wet knickers.
Lunch at the Dore Stream marked the limit of our exploration for the day, although it was suggested (?) that the hut, a further 3-4 km., could have been reached! Talking to the land owners later we learned that above the Dore Stream the river narrowed into a gorge and forms a chin deep (for small people) pool that has no way round – so for future trips aiming for the hut, start well before 7.30am., try not to break-down on the way, take 50/50 tall and short trampers for piggy-backs, and be prepared to carry packs above the head and get very wet (each way).
Apart from three trampers overshooting our climb-out point (always keep the person ahead and behind in sight?), the return trip was uneventful.
On the way out we found the owners and offered our thanks for access, and set off at a cracking (hair-raising) pace towing Geoff’s truck, arriving in Blenheim just on 5pm.
The troops were: Colin, Murray, Gordon, Sue M., Steve V., George, John, Alison, Saha, Sarah and Becky, John and Carey. Thanks for your company and to Murray and Gordon for driving and Gordon for the tow, Geoff.
For those interested, the damage was a sheared left rear axle, replaced and back on the road in 36 hrs!
Tarahaka had been Bills baby being listed on the itinerary twice over the last twelve months but due to inclement weather we had not left the cosy confines of our houses. Surely this time it would be third time lucky?
Well third time lucky was looking decidedly dodgy as Bill, our trip leader was choppered from John Tait Hut a fortnight earlier with the prognosis being six weeks rest.
Dam it, I thought I’m just gonna have to bite the bullet and take up the reins myself.
After surveying Bills intended route on the map I decided for a radical change as the hot dry spell had left me wondering if there was any water up there on Bills intended route.
So I hatched a plan to follow Miller Stream which was always going to have some water in it and hopefully find a camp site around the 1100 meter mark just above a stream junction in the true right branch. From here just stroll up onto George Spur just north of point 2311 also known locally as George Spur, traverse over onto Mt Tarahaka.
It all seemed very doable on the map so all I now needed to do was wait for the phone to start ringing. For some reason completely unknown to me the phone wasn’t ringing with people rushing to sign up for a walk in the park. Well the exceptions being Paul, Jill and Roberto. Did everyone else know something we didn’t??
Only time would tell as we entered Miller Stream from the Waipapa Road end which was a mere fifty meters above sea level. The southerly change from the previous evening was now far out to the north and the gentle north easterly breeze was going to make the riverbed trek quite pleasant.
The first four kms slipped by effortlessly in an hour as we picked thin veins of shingle to follow through the boulders, the bulky mass of George Spur inching closer towards us. We then entered a tighter section eventually turning to a gorge before we did a one hundred and eighty degree turn. This threw a little surprise at us, a seemingly bottomless pool with not an obvious bypass. A rocky scramble was spied which the youthful Roberto accomplished with ease leaving the three of us thinking “well that doesn’t look to hard” Hmmm how wrong could we be as under the weight of packs on backs we found it to be rather testing on both body and nerves.
This again opened out into wide open riverbed with a low plateau to the south leading up onto point 2032 meters which was Bills original ascent route. We had lunch here trying to spot where the hut and airstrip were before again resuming our journey up Miller Stream, the full extent of the Kaikoura earthquake becoming more evident with the stream bed choked with huge rocks while the slopes above still bared the horrific scars and would probably do so for the next one hundred years.
It was pleasant scrambling with ways around all obstacles until once again a waterfall with a big pool again barred our way and again Roberto scampered up a rock face and along a slopping ledge onto steep scree with not a particularly good run-out which didn’t particularly thrill us. Paul, Jill and I opted for the other side and yet again subjected ourselves to a fair bit of angst while fishing around for holds that weren’t going to pull out in your hands.
Very soon after we arrived at our stream junction at just under 1100 meters and spied a small rock strewn bench above Miller Stream that looked accommodating enough for our tents. As it turned out the only real tent site from here on. After a bit of gardening we had cleared enough rocks to comfortably accommodate the two tents and in five minutes they were pitched to empty pack contents inside.
It was now that we realised why Roberto’s pack seemed so empty looking as he had forgone a sleeping mat and the sleeping bag could fit inside a one litre water bottle. I know my ageing body couldn’t tolerate that sort of hardship now and being the whimp I am I’m not sure whether it ever could.
Anyway this was the life, mid afternoon relaxing in warm sunshine, cups of tea and snacks.
Seven pm arrived and we all retreated to our pits for I thought to have a realistic shot at the top we needed to be away around six.
Paul, Jill and I slept very soundly but for Roberto it was a different story as minus a sleeping mat and curling up in a sleeping bag that was at only its best two mills thick, cushioning from rocks below even after gardening was never going to happen. Hence every half hour waking to relieve pressure points, Yep I think I’ll stick to my heavy pack.
It was a very promising dawning to the day with a cloudless sky filled with sparkling stars as we consumed breakfast while throwing a few essentials into the packs, all else left in the tents which on return would be dry of the nights dew.
On rounding the bend from our camp site, Miller Stream had abruptly disappeared under thousands of tons of broken rubble, the carnage being quite striking with the narrow valley choked with house sized boulders and far beneath our feet we could hear the roar of the now subterranean stream
Water bottles were filled here as from now on water was uncertain before we again resumed our upwards advance, now very conscious of the fact the end would come very swiftly if the mountain decided to move.
Progress had been relatively good until we came up against a drop that hadn’t filled with rubble, the only option being up a very steep scree slope onto a prominent rib that had to be crossed. It looked simple enough from the bottom but again once on proving to be quite stressful with rocks coming down that could inflict some serious pain and once on the rib it just crumbled in the hands and broke and rolled under the feet. A reasonable cairn was built on the rib and adorned with Jill’s white hanky as we didn’t want to overshoot this on the way back down as we could dig ourselves into a serious hole.
We encountered one more smaller drop that we were able to climb around to the side. It was damp and slime covered but not too difficult. Once past this the valley broadened and we looked straight up into the east face of point 2311 known locally as George Spur. The east face looked difficult so we thought we’d do a recky up onto the ridge between point 2032 meters and George Spur. Half way up I decided it probably wasn’t going to go so as Roberto had the young legs I sent him on up to check it out while we sat down and waited.
Whilst waiting we did have a close encounter with a boulder that started off about half the size of a quad bike but luckily as it got closer it smashed into oblivion for we didn’t really have anywhere to run and dodging I think was going to come down to pure luck.
Roberto confirmed what I had concluded and it was back to a broad steep scree under the east face of point 2311. The unstableness of everything was somewhat unnerving so Paul and Jill took the only sensible option to wait out the last bit while Roberto and I chose to have a look and see how it panned out. The initial scree wasn’t too bad but things got a little trickier when a small buttress had to be traversed under to get into the next gully system. I built a good cairn here as I knew this gulley bluffed out below which needed to be avoided at all cost on the return before again proceeding up very steep loose scree.
The final nail in the coffin for me was when the immediate slope above started sliding and for what seemed like a couple of minutes it flowed into me building up around my legs. It was less than sixty vertical meters onto George Spur but I wasn’t going to kid myself as I lacked the agility of old and my sense of self preservation was now much stronger so for me it was an easy decision to pull the pin and retreat.
Roberto had youth and desire on his side so it was an easy decision for him as he went passed me and continued up while I carefully descended back down to the buttress and into its lee and out from the firing line. Roberto carefully scrambled onto the crest of George Spur where he was met with a sharp crumbling arête, a leg straddling either side. It looked very challenging so he decided he would return another day to complete this unfinished business.
I interestingly on return thought I’ll Google Tarahaka and see what comes up and after our experience the reply didn’t surprise. “These impressive peaks at the south end of George Spur are seldom climbed, involves difficult rock scrambling requiring extreme care.”
As is always the case down climbing is generally a dam sight more difficult than going up so Paul, Jill and I were somewhat relieved to spot the helmeted form of Roberto hit the easier ground again.
After a relaxing lunch discussing the pro and cons of coming back for another go, Paul, Jill and I were happy to have experienced the journey to our high points but the absolute desire was no longer there to knock the bastard off where as Roberto was coming back to conquer.
The journey back down valley passed quickly until the first drop with me sending Roberto down first to act as a catcher in the off chance of any of us peeling off as it was quite slippery. It was off down again for the retrieval of Jill’s handkerchief from the rock cairn followed by a tediously slow traverse across the rock rib to then down climb below the fall. From here it was all plain sailing back down to our camp where the tents were quickly dismantled before a relaxing brew up.
Reluctantly heavy packs were shouldered for what we anticipated to be a five and a half hour walk out to the car park making for quite a long day. We quickly descended back down to the first drop below camp and procrastinated on what side to descend before I decided on the true left and mentally began to prepare for a tricky down climb. While traversing across to our descent gut I spotted a shelf that would take us all the way to easy ground!! How could we have not seen that on the way up??With some relief we scuttled along and back into the river bed to happily carry on our merry way.
The river flats opened out again and by now the share tedium of rock hopping was starting to tell with conversation now nonexistent. It was here that we spotted the silhouette of a white hut up on the plateau and presumed the airstrip would be close, not sure how we missed it yesterday.
From here it was back into the gorge to do the one eighty degree half loop below which was our last drop for the day. This we chose to tackle on the true left this time, Roberto disappearing off down a slopping ledge to disappear around a corner. It looked to dodgy for us in our weary state so I started hauling myself up through steep scrub hopping the top wasn’t going to end in a bluff. Thankfully it didn’t, the descent being very benign.
From here the valley again opened out but was now in shadow, the sun having slipped behind the ridge as we began the four or five k trudge towards the ford across Miller stream. By now all senses were switched into auto pilot mode as we just willed that ford to appear, the car park being just minutes beyond.
Just on eight thirty we crossed the ford and dragged ourselves up the track to the awaiting blue steed, Paul retrieving the stashed apples from the shrubbery. Sodden boots were ditched as we retreated to the cab to eat as the sand flies were having a feeding frenzy.
With the apples gobbled the key was poked into the ignition and turned for a deafening silence.
What the F#*#k you’ve got to be shitting me!!!
Jill, Paul and I had Telecom, no signal but luckily Roberto had a weak signal with Vodafone and through numerous cut outs we were able to make contact with AA roadside rescue and requested a jump start. The call person gave us a waiting time of 15 to 90 minutes which we knew was going to be south of 90 minutes to which he also added ” Is there anything else I can do for you” to which I blurted “I guess shark and tatties is out of the question?”
Trip Stats, Day One 14.90 ks for a vertical ascent of 1027 meters over six hours.
Day Two 23.16 ks for a vertical ascent of 1074 meters over fourteen hours.
Post Christmas BBQ. January 27th 2019
It had just been announced that Blenheim was officially in the midst of a heat wave and today was forecast to be another scorcher, the day of our post Christmas BBQ, hot, windy with a temperature up around 35 degrees Celsius.
Thank fully the nor wester held off and the heat was tolerable under the elms while not forgetting the welcome respite of the Waihopai River a few meters away.
A great turnout with members rolling up from as far afield as Kaikoura although it would be nice to see some of the younger members partaking next year.
Lesson of the day!!!! Make sure Bill checks the BBQ is in working order before he departs home. Luckily Kerry’s BBQ was problem free and we were able to make do with one. It was fair to say the pressure was on Kerry and Steve to keep the food rolling onto the plates of 40 plus members.
As usual food to accompany the snags and patties was more than plentiful and there are some great cooks amongst us.
Because of pre Christmas pressures we will probably continue with the post Christmas format in the future.
Mt Travers and Travers Valley Trip – January 18th-20th 2019
By Andy and Luke.
So the plan was to make an attempt on climbing Mt Travers, and also have the alternative option for a trip up the Travers valley and an exploration from John Tait hut for anyone else.
It was generally agreed that an early start on Friday morning for Nally, Murray, Sue, Bill, Sari, Luke and myself (Andy) would give us plenty of time to get to John Tait hut by mid afternoon. Kerry, Roberto and Salvador had decided to get away a bit later in the day and jump in Kerry's boat across Lake Rotoiti and meet us later in the day.
Steven had got in touch to say that he and Paul would meet us at John Tait hut by mid-late Saturday afternoon, leaving on Saturday morning.
Bill had his fly fishing gear ready for action too. The weather was looking fine as we approached St Arnaud. Luke managed a well-timed sleep in the car, waking in perfect timing for St Arnaud. We left Kerr bay at about 7.50am for the walk around the lake and got to Lakehead hut for morning tea at about 10.30. We spotted some flowering rata along the way which was very pretty. The day was warming up and it was an enjoyable walk up to just past the swingbridge where we decided to have lunch and restock the water
This was when Bill left the group to follow the river up and get into some fishing. It was about another hour walking up the valley before we re-united at the Hopeless creek bridge. Luke and I had passed the time playing one of Luke’s new favourite word games which distracted me from my shoulders which were showing signs of not having carried a pack for quite some time. Then we all made our way in our own time to John Tait hut, which we reached at some time between 3.45pm and 4pm. The views up the valley of the river and Mt Travers in the background were a combination of relaxing and daunting, knowing what the plan was for the following day, and hoping that the weather was going to hold out for us. Just about all of us had a quick dip in Travers river at this stage as we were all hot and keen to freshen up in the bracingly cold water. We all settled in to the hut, which we pretty much had to ourselves until another couple of people arrived a wee bit later in the evening. A few of us were cooking dinner at about 6pm when I saw Bill arrive with a slightly more pained expression than I was expecting considering he’s a seasoned campaigner on these walks. It wasn’t until I went outside to say hi that he mentioned that he wasn’t feeling that flash at all, having rolled his ankle quite badly about 1 km downstream and that it had been a fairly slow painful walk to the hut from there. Fortunately we had Sari with us, who with her nursing skills helped provide the necessary first aid and we helped Bill elevate his leg and get as comfortable as possible. We were all hoping things were going to be feeling a lot better by morning, but unfortunately there was no chance of him joining the Mt Travers crew. On the positive side, he had managed to catch a great looking 6.5 pound brown trout before the injury. About 20 or so minutes after Bill had arrived, Kerry, Roberto and Salvador turned up. They were all looking fairly hot as well, after the trip up the valley which they’d made in good time. Those of us who were keen to climb Travers the next morning decided that we should get away at first light at about 5am the next morning, so we set the alarms and tried to get as best night’s sleep as we could. Once again there was a famine of reading material in a serviced hut, but I managed to scrape together a few pages of a 10 year old Wilderness magazine.
We basically bush-bashed following the odd deer track up for about an hour. The going wasn’t too slow until we got to the last bit where we had veered a fair way away from the creek and the new growth of Beech trees was going to make our going tough if we wanted to take the fastest route as the crow flies back across to the creek. We decided that was too hard so we went further up and then across to the left once we’d got above the tree line. This was the bit I was looking forward to, with good views and also some good looking tussock grass to head up on. What I hadn’t bargained for was the fact that the ground was really uneven, the grass was surprisingly tall, wet and sticky, and that dodging the numerous flowering Spaniard was a lot trickier than expected. We all managed to eventually bust our way through to a few rocky outcrops where we rested and had a quick bite to eat, before setting ourselves towards the reasonably steep climb that followed, directly up summit creek (actually Kerry, Roberto and Salvador followed the very top of the creek and Murray, Nally, Luke and I slightly to the left). We met Kerry further up after a solid slog, where he told us he was calling it a day. So we said our goodbyes and he headed back down. This was pretty much at the base of the western side of north east ridge. We carried on following Roberto and Salvador, they took a slightly more direct route up a short steep section, but Luke decided there must be an easier option as it was a bit hard for him to reach the holds on the rock.
So Murray, Nally, Luke and myself headed around to the right where the going was actually quite a bit easier. Up above the weather was definitely changing, with more and more wispy clouds rolling in from the west. It was about this time that we heard the sound of what we thought was a helicopter in the distance. After having discussed various options the night before with Bill, we had a feeling that this was coming to pick him up, as he hadn’t been feeling a lot better when we briefly caught up with him first thing in the morning before we left.
Salvador and Roberto were taking a route a bit further to the left closer to pt. 2127, and the rest of us just ploughed on up big piles of scree and rock until we eventually all met up as we got closer to the ridge that lead to the summit. It was definitely a classic case of 2 steps forward, 1 step back but we were all making pretty good progress though. Murray seemed to be doing well despite his lack of strength in his leg muscles post hip replacement. Eventually we got to a big patch of snow which then lead to the ridge leading to the summit. This last bit was quite exposed to the incoming weather and increasing wind, but fortunately we managed to avoid any major gusts and although there was a bit of clambering over rocks, this last section was relatively straight forward and we all got to the summit at 2338 metres at about 10.50am. Unfortunately the clouds had come in by this stage and so we missed out on the perfect 360 degree views that we had hoped for.
It wasn’t completely clagged in so we could still get perspective of where we were and got some good views out towards Mt Franklin to the south west and back towards Mt’s Cupola and Hopeless which we could partially see. Anyway, we congratulated each other, took some photos and footage, grabbed a quick snack and then headed back the way we’d come, as a few spots of rain arrived and the wind gusts were starting to pick up. Fortunately as we headed down, the rain eased off and we didn’t see any again until we were almost back at the hut several hours later. As we made our way back down the unstable scree, about 30 mins later Luke lost concentration for a second and gashed himself with a bit more than a light graze just below his right knee. So I tried to take a nice deep breath, rummaged through the first aid kit and patched it up as best as possible with some nice sterile pads and strapping tape.
After a good bite to eat, some sugary boosts, and a relaxing sit down, Luke seemed to get a new lease of life and very bravely made his way down with no problems for the rest of the day. As we all chose to follow summit creek on the way down, it was almost no time when we arrived at the bush where we saw a relatively easy to follow deer track that we followed back to the Travers valley track.
After a hard day of walking there was finally a pretty easy-going track to finish off. We all thought it was a good idea to have a quick look at the Travers falls. While we where scampering down to the falls we saw Sari admiring the falls so we had a bit of a catch-up with her and asked her what her and Sue had got up to. They had gone for a great trip up to Cupola hut and back with great views of Mt Hopeless, looking out towards the couloir that Murray had fallen off and survived all those years ago.
After we finished gazing at the falls we went back up onto the track. Luke slowly crept ahead us until he decided to race off in front to get to the hut faster. Before long the hut was in front of us and we were all excited for another relaxing night until we discovered the hut was filled with people from everywhere.
We met Steven and Paul at the hut who had tramped up from Kerr bay. It was great timing as just as we arrived at the hut it started to rain steadily. Those who had tents (Nally, Murray, Kerry, Sari, and Paul) I think we’re quite relieved to be able to retreat to some peace and quiet later in the night after we’d all eaten and had a good chat. Perhaps one group of people in the hut needed to learn some hut etiquette, as they all watched a movie together quite loudly in the upper bunks. By this time luckily Luke had already settled in for an early one so wasn’t kept up.
A very nice wake up on Sunday because there was no 4:20alarm. The overnight rain had cleared to a beautiful fine morning. A relaxed pack-up for the last day although Sari had left at 6:30to make a relaxed return journey to Coldwater hut. As the rest of us got ourselves sorted first Sue then Kerry and then Paul, Steven, Luke and I, Salvador, Roberto, then Murray and Nally. We met Kerry at the river just before the swing bridge. Our plan was to catch the water taxi back to Kerr bay at 12:45 so there were not too many breaks along the way. Having morning tea at the same place that we had lunch on Friday we all had grouped up together again, some crossing the bridge to lake head hut and some staying on the track to Coldwater. Luke enjoyed yelling out hello to the other group on the other side of the Travers river and the other group replied back to him with a wave. At Coldwater we met up with Sari and Sue and were getting bitten by sandflies at the wharf and took pictures of the lake.
The water taxi arrived at the wharf with a family of 5 and we all just fitted in the boat. Murray and Nally had already decided to walk the lakeside track. Once back at Kerr Bay we fitted Sari and Sue in our car and popped in for a quick treat at St Arnaud before making the trip back. We asked Sari if Luke should get stitches and we all thought it would be a good idea for it to get checked at A and E when we got back.
Kerry’s bike ride to Lake Chalice had had the pin pulled and as there had been a lot of murmurs running around for another rock climbing day at Rarangi/Monkey Bay I thought OK now is as good a time as ever, for the rock was dry and warm.
A quick check on high tide which was around half ten in the morning and I thought perfect I’ll be able to sneak around the ledge and up the back to set up the top ropes giving all interested a whole afternoon and evening to feel the thrill of a bit of air between their feet and the ground.
It was a typical Marlborough blue sky summers day for a play on the Monkey Bay sea cliffs, almost a United Nations gathering with a multitude of different nationalities participating.
I was admirably assisted by Sophia and Steven who happily imparted their wealth of rock-climbing knowledge to keep all safe and encouraging all to great heights.
Some of those participating were Andy and Luke, Sarah and Becky, Sara, Stephen V, Steven G, Dee, Alyssa, Teleri, Chloe and Partner and baby Grayson who was snapped scaling a wee rock, Roberto, Salvador, Sophia, Francesco, Andrea, Cy Chun Yeet, Francesca and Murray. Apologises to anyone I’ve omitted.