Autumn has arrived in Arthur’s Pass. It’s much more gentle than the European autumn. There are no yellow or red coloured leaves falling towards the ground, everything stays green. Yet you do get autumny vibes from nature – the light becomes much more gentle than in the summer, the mornings are chillier and the water is very fresh once again.
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.
Anna and I set off quite late. It was around 12PM when we left Christchurch and around 2pm when we arrived at Greyneys Shelter by SH73. We left some chips in the car to welcome us on our return, and off we went up Mingha River.
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.