Emily and Sienna came down to visit me in the deep South and they timed it well for the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, so there is no excuse not to go to the mountains! Our first thought was to do the Humpridge track off-season (as normal pricing for freedom walk with two nights on a bunk bed and nothing more would be nearly $300, which I had difficulty justify for myself even though I know the track would be amazing).
Two day hikes
Since I’ve got myself into #52peakschallenge this year, I naturally started looking for places where I can climb 2 peaks in one day. Packard Peak (2066m) had been dragging my attention that week as there was a possibility to climb Mid Hill on the same day. It also didn’t seem to be very popular among Christchurchians which is always a plus.
Jollie Brook Circuit is cirka 30 kms loop track close to Lake Sumner. To get there, there is about a 40 kms gravel road stretch that was quite easy to follow with 2WD.
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.
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.