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.
Mons Sex Millia (1835m) is the highest point of Poplars Range near Lewis Pass. It was quite a lazy looking Sunday morning when 11 CTC members, yawning after the early start and being eaten alive by sandflies, appeared at the Boyle Village carpark. After a short briefing, we took an obvious path leading to Boyle Village.
I can’t remember the last time I went for a hike with my mum. It must have been over 20 years ago. And here we are – my mum, Alena, my sister, Nela, a family friend Liba and myself, all standing by a car at White Horse Hill Campsite in Aoraki National Park, ready to climb a thousand vertical meters to Mueller Hut.
Brass Monkey Bivouac is a highly elevated bivvy precisely settled on the tops of the Lewis Pass ranges. There is no direct route to it. There is an article in Wilderness Magazine “5 ways to Brass Monkey Bivouac” that briefly describes 5 ways to get up there. As this was only my second trip as a leader of the Christchurch Tramping Club trip, I opted for a relatively easy route up via Lucretia Stream. For the way down I chose the route via Duchess Stream which was a bit more… ehm – let’s stick with the word “adventurous”.
Cass-Lagoon Saddle Track is one of the most popular tracks in Craigieburn Forest Park / Arthur’s Pass broader area. About half of the track is part of Te Araora Trail. Anna and I decided to see on our own eyes if it’s as pretty as people say (spoiler alert: yes, it is!).
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.