As I don’t work Mondays, I decided to organize some Monday trips. The first one was to Mt Somers with only one brave participant, Heidi. We started off at Sharplin Falls Reserve and followed a well marked trail to the start of Mt Somers Summit Track. From there, a steep section of unstable rocks followed.
It’s becoming a tradition this summer that when we want to go tramping on the West Coast, it’s raining cats and dogs (see eg. our Black Range adventure just a few weeks before). With everywhere else under the covery of rain clouds, we were looking to do something different on the Canterbury Plains where the forecast was clear. Mt Taylor (2333m) in Mt Somers Range got our attention as a special enough trip for our weekend.
The time to lead another CTC trip had come. At the beginning, I wanted to go to Mt Winterslow. Everything looked good – there was no rain forecast, a few of the people who had signed up for my trip were experienced, the wind was due to be around 1 m/s…
Going to Black Hill Range wasn’t our first choice for this weekend. We reaaally wanted to go to the West Coast but the weather was so bad that weekend that we couldn’t do anything else but stay on the Canterbury Plains. So, we decided to do the Comnys Hut – Cookies Hut traverse via the North Branch Ashburton River / Hakatere.
I’ve been wondering for a while if I can take my non 4WD vehicle into the Lees Valley. There is a long gravel road that I know is inaccessible in the winter for 2WD. After reassurance from a couple of the CTC members that driving on the road in the summer will be fine, I decided that it’s time to give it a go. My friend Jana and I drove there on Sunday morning and yes, the access to the valley is without any issues for a 2WD vehicles.
This was my first trip as a leader of the Christchurch Tramping Club. I scheduled the trip for Friday 15th November which was a public holiday. Until Thursday night it was only me and a couple of prospective members on the list which I thought would be fun. Then unexpected happened: all 3 multi-day trips that were planned for the long weekend were canceled due to a bad weather on Saturday.
Mt Sommers Track is one of the most popular overnight hikes for Christchurchians. Fair enough, it’s close to Christchurch and it’s pretty nice there. As the track doesn’t go too high up, I made up my own variation of the track with ascending Mt Sommers and Mt Winterslow which are the highest mountains in the area. Alright, I didn’t actually stand on the top of them but I was just an easy stroll away.
Anna was waiting for me in the car with our backpacks ready for the weekend adventure. It was Saturday 5pm and I just finished my last shift of the week. I jumped into the car and changed into my tramping baggy clothes while Anna was driving south-west towards Lake Clearwater in Hakatere Conservation Area.
Anna was sick. She was so sick that she could only do one waist-deep river crossing and a 3 hour a hike with a fully loaded backpack with camping gear and food for 2 days. What a bummer. Pinchgut Hut will do.
Wharfedale Hut is a standard DoC hut with a nice, easy-going trail going all the way from a carpark at the end of Wharfedale Track Road to the hut. To get to the carpark, we had to cross a couple of rivers. One of them could cause troubles to the non-4WD vehicles so if you’re heading up there, make sure the water level is not too high. The crossing would be impassable and you’d have to leave your car by the river and hike about 5 km to the end of the road.