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.
Two day hikes
John Reid Hut is a cozy neat hut just above the bush line in Wangapeka Valley in Kahurangi National Park. Anna and I went there to celebrate the fact that we’re about to get married. Let’s call it a pre-honeymoon trip.
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.
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, Sanita and I started our Kaikoura adventure down at Mt Fyffe car park. It was Sunday morning and we were quite stiff after 2.5 hours drive from Christchurch. At the car park, there were quite a few cars suggesting that last night at Fyffe Hut was quite busy.
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.
So I did it. I joined the Christchurch Tramping Club. I have to say that I was a bit suspicious of what it was going to be like to hike in a group of a dozen hikers with different life and tramping experience under their belts. Well, I have to say now that it was great fun!