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199510 [2020/12/20 07:27]
joan [FROM THE CLUBROOM]
199510 [2020/12/20 07:29] (current)
joan
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 For years the clubrooms of Sydney Bushwalkers have resounded with the legends of New Zealand trips long past. Tom Wenman's passion at the start was simple- to bring together eight other members to join with him in the New Zealand challenge. This group of nine-Tom Wenman as leader, Maurie Ward , Michelle Powell, John Hogan, John Riddell, Eddy Giacomel, Margaret Sheens, Jeff McIntosh and myself (ad)ventured forth to verify or dispel the myths.  For years the clubrooms of Sydney Bushwalkers have resounded with the legends of New Zealand trips long past. Tom Wenman's passion at the start was simple- to bring together eight other members to join with him in the New Zealand challenge. This group of nine-Tom Wenman as leader, Maurie Ward , Michelle Powell, John Hogan, John Riddell, Eddy Giacomel, Margaret Sheens, Jeff McIntosh and myself (ad)ventured forth to verify or dispel the myths. 
  
-__Day 1__+__Day 1__\\
 Our flight to New Zealand was smooth and uneventful. We set our base in Queenstown. It is a delightful tourist town spread around the edges of Lake Wakatipu and framed by a spectacular mountain range called The Remarkables. It didn't take our group long to discover the local supermarkets which were somewhat expensive but well equipped for for "trampers". The challenge for our group was after the shopping expedition-trying to get nine people to choose a restaurant for dinner. Luckily John Riddell remembered a place from years previous and everyone felt well satisfied. By 9pm, we were back at the motel and had settled into the last minute packing routine  Our flight to New Zealand was smooth and uneventful. We set our base in Queenstown. It is a delightful tourist town spread around the edges of Lake Wakatipu and framed by a spectacular mountain range called The Remarkables. It didn't take our group long to discover the local supermarkets which were somewhat expensive but well equipped for for "trampers". The challenge for our group was after the shopping expedition-trying to get nine people to choose a restaurant for dinner. Luckily John Riddell remembered a place from years previous and everyone felt well satisfied. By 9pm, we were back at the motel and had settled into the last minute packing routine 
  
-__Day 2 -Queenstown-Wanaka-Raspberry Flat-Aspiring Hut__ +__Day 2 -Queenstown-Wanaka-Raspberry Flat-Aspiring Hut__\\ 
 This morning there was a great fluster of activity. Some people had difficulty getting out of bed due to the efforts of a two hour time difference and John's effervescent joke-telling that ceased somewhere around the bewitching hour. There was also a last minute rush to find shellite. Nonetheless We were packed and ready to go by late morning. A hired minibus, a handful of maps, a trailerload of back packs- the adventure was about to begin.  This morning there was a great fluster of activity. Some people had difficulty getting out of bed due to the efforts of a two hour time difference and John's effervescent joke-telling that ceased somewhere around the bewitching hour. There was also a last minute rush to find shellite. Nonetheless We were packed and ready to go by late morning. A hired minibus, a handful of maps, a trailerload of back packs- the adventure was about to begin. 
  
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 Within a few hours we were at Mt Aspiring Hut. I wouldn't call the hut a wilderness experience. It had twenty beds. The place was filled to the rafters. There were gas burners, bunks and mattresses, a fireplace and two long drops (toilets). We quickly opted for the paddock near the hut. This way there were no crowds to contend with, only the cows. Apparently the cows had a fetish for stealing and munching the clothes of unwary campers.  Within a few hours we were at Mt Aspiring Hut. I wouldn't call the hut a wilderness experience. It had twenty beds. The place was filled to the rafters. There were gas burners, bunks and mattresses, a fireplace and two long drops (toilets). We quickly opted for the paddock near the hut. This way there were no crowds to contend with, only the cows. Apparently the cows had a fetish for stealing and munching the clothes of unwary campers. 
  
-__Day 3-Mt Aspiring Hut to Cascade Saddle__ +__Day 3-Mt Aspiring Hut to Cascade Saddle__\\ 
 Today was the day we had been waiting for, or so the theory went. Given the fine weather our leader had decided that we were to attempt the saddle a day ahead of schedule. We were up by 6:00 a m. In the darkness Tom had accidentally cooked a little too much porridge. Even though John, Tom and I struggled with that final mouthful of porridge, a couple of hours later we were thankful for the carbohydrate loading that was to help us climb this 1800 metre mountain.  Today was the day we had been waiting for, or so the theory went. Given the fine weather our leader had decided that we were to attempt the saddle a day ahead of schedule. We were up by 6:00 a m. In the darkness Tom had accidentally cooked a little too much porridge. Even though John, Tom and I struggled with that final mouthful of porridge, a couple of hours later we were thankful for the carbohydrate loading that was to help us climb this 1800 metre mountain. 
  
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 Serenity. No one else about. The air filled with campsite chatter. In the background Dart Glacier tearing, plucking, grinding against the mountainside. Every so, often the chatter would suddenly halt as the saddle reverberated with the thunder of yet another ice avalanche. Muted rays of lilac and pink. Beyond the saddle the silent stars sparkled over Mt Aspiring. For all my life, I will never forget the magnificence of Cascade Saddle.  Serenity. No one else about. The air filled with campsite chatter. In the background Dart Glacier tearing, plucking, grinding against the mountainside. Every so, often the chatter would suddenly halt as the saddle reverberated with the thunder of yet another ice avalanche. Muted rays of lilac and pink. Beyond the saddle the silent stars sparkled over Mt Aspiring. For all my life, I will never forget the magnificence of Cascade Saddle. 
  
-__Day 4 Cascade.Saddle to Dart Hut__ +__Day 4 Cascade.Saddle to Dart Hut__\\
 On the fourth day we followed the Dart Glacier. This glacier was once part of an enormous ice system some 18,000 years ago. It terminated at Kingston, a place over 100 Km from Dart Hut. In the mid 19th century the terminus of the glacier came to within a kilometre of where Dart Hut now stands. Now the glacier has retreated a number of kilometres up the valley and has left a noticeable moraine ridge along the valley walls. We took the track along this ridge. In parts the ground was steep and gave way to scree slopes. Large boulders and debris dominated the descent to Dart River. Once we had reached the floor of the valley we could see how the river was formed from the dead ice of the glacier.  On the fourth day we followed the Dart Glacier. This glacier was once part of an enormous ice system some 18,000 years ago. It terminated at Kingston, a place over 100 Km from Dart Hut. In the mid 19th century the terminus of the glacier came to within a kilometre of where Dart Hut now stands. Now the glacier has retreated a number of kilometres up the valley and has left a noticeable moraine ridge along the valley walls. We took the track along this ridge. In parts the ground was steep and gave way to scree slopes. Large boulders and debris dominated the descent to Dart River. Once we had reached the floor of the valley we could see how the river was formed from the dead ice of the glacier. 
  
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 Dart hut was commodious. The two John's and Michelle camped out and Oh Dear! what a night they had with the Keas. Michelle decided that these large parrots spent their infancy being fed steroids and attending annoyance classes. For some reason these mischievous birds were fascinated by tent pegs and any pieces of mobile equipment they could get their beaks onto. Keas apparently only inhabit the mountainous areas of South Island. Their plumage is a dull greyish green but the underwings are stunningly bright red. They have a highly variable diet and have created a bad reputation for attacking live sheep and gouging out the fat around their kidneys with their strong hooked beaks.  Dart hut was commodious. The two John's and Michelle camped out and Oh Dear! what a night they had with the Keas. Michelle decided that these large parrots spent their infancy being fed steroids and attending annoyance classes. For some reason these mischievous birds were fascinated by tent pegs and any pieces of mobile equipment they could get their beaks onto. Keas apparently only inhabit the mountainous areas of South Island. Their plumage is a dull greyish green but the underwings are stunningly bright red. They have a highly variable diet and have created a bad reputation for attacking live sheep and gouging out the fat around their kidneys with their strong hooked beaks. 
  
-__Day 5-Dart Hut-Day Walks__ +__Day 5-Dart Hut-Day Walks__\\ 
 Today there were two groups of walkers. One group explored the Rees Valley while the other group attempted to explore Mt Humboldt. The two groups parted ways at the start of the walk to Whitbourn Valley. Our group aborted the attempt to cross the Dart River to get over to Mt Humboldt. The pylons of the swingbridge were unstable and the river was too icy and fast flowing. Today there were two groups of walkers. One group explored the Rees Valley while the other group attempted to explore Mt Humboldt. The two groups parted ways at the start of the walk to Whitbourn Valley. Our group aborted the attempt to cross the Dart River to get over to Mt Humboldt. The pylons of the swingbridge were unstable and the river was too icy and fast flowing.
  
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 After lunch we developed the. new sport of `grassading' (as opposed to glissading). The snow grass was so slippery that I found it easier to slide on my bottom than try to control my jellylike quadriceps for the downhill run. Around 4:00 p m. that day we were re-united with our colleagues who had also enjoyed the beauty of the Rees Valley and Bivvy Rock.  After lunch we developed the. new sport of `grassading' (as opposed to glissading). The snow grass was so slippery that I found it easier to slide on my bottom than try to control my jellylike quadriceps for the downhill run. Around 4:00 p m. that day we were re-united with our colleagues who had also enjoyed the beauty of the Rees Valley and Bivvy Rock. 
  
-__Day 6-Dart tlut-Rees Saddle-Shelter Rock Hut__+__Day 6-Dart tlut-Rees Saddle-Shelter Rock Hut__\\
 Qri the sixth day We farewelled the Dait Valley and headed for Rees Saddle. The Department : of Conservation had just finished a new bridge over the Snowy River. If the bridge had not been finished we would have had to negotiate a snow bridge just next to the bridge. We enjoyed morning tea at Rees Saddle. From here the track stayed close to a very steep cliff. The heat was almost unbearable through this valley. Our group kept walking through lunch hour to get to Shelter Rock Hut by early afternoon. Some couldnt resist a quick dip just 200 metres from the hut while the rest of the group bolted for the river after dumping their gear at the hut.  Qri the sixth day We farewelled the Dait Valley and headed for Rees Saddle. The Department : of Conservation had just finished a new bridge over the Snowy River. If the bridge had not been finished we would have had to negotiate a snow bridge just next to the bridge. We enjoyed morning tea at Rees Saddle. From here the track stayed close to a very steep cliff. The heat was almost unbearable through this valley. Our group kept walking through lunch hour to get to Shelter Rock Hut by early afternoon. Some couldnt resist a quick dip just 200 metres from the hut while the rest of the group bolted for the river after dumping their gear at the hut. 
  
 The hut was new. It had 22 beds and swarms of people-eating sandflies. From above the hut the Keas' solicitations were loud and clearly mischievous. Their cries quickly led to a scramble to fasten windows and thrust any loose objects into the safety of the packs. At dusk they entertained us with their endless chatter.  The hut was new. It had 22 beds and swarms of people-eating sandflies. From above the hut the Keas' solicitations were loud and clearly mischievous. Their cries quickly led to a scramble to fasten windows and thrust any loose objects into the safety of the packs. At dusk they entertained us with their endless chatter. 
  
-Day 7 Shelter Rock Hut-Twenty Five Mile Creek-Queenstown  +__Day 7 Shelter Rock Hut-Twenty Five Mile Creek-Queenstown__\\ 
 Our last day in Aspiring National Park went too quickly. After crossing the bridge across the river outside the hut we were once again walking through familiar beech forest. We had a leisurely lunch at the entrance sign to Mt Aspiring Park. From lunchtime until about 4 p m. we enjoyed a brisk walk along a grassy valley to 25 Mile Creek and finally Arthur's Creek Hut-our pickup point. We loaded into the van and headed for Glenorchy. Most of us indulged in milkshakes, soft drinks and double Hokey Pokey. ice creams before swapping into the bus headed for Queenstown.  Our last day in Aspiring National Park went too quickly. After crossing the bridge across the river outside the hut we were once again walking through familiar beech forest. We had a leisurely lunch at the entrance sign to Mt Aspiring Park. From lunchtime until about 4 p m. we enjoyed a brisk walk along a grassy valley to 25 Mile Creek and finally Arthur's Creek Hut-our pickup point. We loaded into the van and headed for Glenorchy. Most of us indulged in milkshakes, soft drinks and double Hokey Pokey. ice creams before swapping into the bus headed for Queenstown. 
  
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-//ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS. +//ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS.\\
 My sincere thanks to the rangers of the Department of Conservation (New Zealand) at Mt Aspiring and Dart Huts. They gave freely of their time to advise us about the flora, fauna geology and history of the areas that we walked// My sincere thanks to the rangers of the Department of Conservation (New Zealand) at Mt Aspiring and Dart Huts. They gave freely of their time to advise us about the flora, fauna geology and history of the areas that we walked//
  
199510.txt · Last modified: 2020/12/20 07:29 by joan