The week of October 9 Cliff and I went on a tramp in the Travers valley with the Buller Tramping Club which we’ve recently joined. It was our first time in Nelson Lakes National Park other than driving through. It’s a beautiful park with plenty of opportunity for walks and tramps of almost any length. After stopping at the visitor centre in St Arnaud to buy our hut passes we had lunch at a modern shelter (which even had gas hot water) at the beginning of the track we were to take. It started to drizzle just as we were on our way so we put on our raincoats and pack covers before setting out.
It wasn’t much of a day for taking photos but I got this shot of the lake before heading into the bush. Rotoiti means small lake. (roto = lake, iti = small)
After three hours of walking through beech forest we were glad to arrive at the Lakehead hut where we built a fire to warm the hut and help dry out our shoes and socks.
Lakehead hut has 28 bunks. A group of four young 20-somethings were in their sleeping bags in a bottom row of bunks when we arrived. They didn’t seem to move until we took off the next morning around 9:00. They didn’t make a sound and were more like the elephant in the corner than actual trampers.
Leonie had already come through the gap between fallen trees. We had to hug the bottom tree and swing our packs under the top tree to get through.
This reminds me of the Catoctin Mountains in Western Maryland where my father took us to get out into nature. The Catoctins have hardwood forests, lots of boulders and wild rivers.
Barbara, an interesting Canadian woman, took this photo. From left: Muriel, Micaela, Leonie, Cliff, Clare, Helen, Eileen and Trish. Barbara is on her fifth trip to New Zealand where she loves solo tramping, staying in huts and generally enjoying the country.
We stayed at John Tait hut for two nights. On the “rest” day we enjoyed going on various walks without our packs. Most of us walked up to Travers Falls.
An avalanche in August 2008 spared John Tait hut. It split into two parts, one part went to one side of the hut and one to the other. As far as we know, no-one was in the hut at the time.
This tranquil scene can become sinister at night when a possum jumps across your path.
The other avalanche area was on the way to Travers Falls. It was completely different to the tree and rock one near the hut.
Cliff went on ahead with the camera. This was on the way back, we’d already crossed once. It was pretty easy as long as you kept your feet on the small area that had been formed by other trampers.
The next day we went back to spend another night at Lakehead hut. The swing bridge was on that leg.
The only tricky part was at the end where the bridge stops at a rock face. Leonie is up above the bridge.
The Kea is the world’s only alpine parrot. They are 48 centimetres (19 inches) long, mostly olive green with bright orange under their wings. They are omnivores and love picking at rubber anywhere they can but especially out of car windscreens. This bird was hoping we would leave our boots outside so he could pick at the laces and soles.
Saturday, our last day, started out drizzly after heavy rain in the night. A storm had been forecast and we wanted to get back before it hit. The rain overnight caused creeks and rivers to rise. Only one was potentially dangerous when we crossed.
We rock-hopped over this creek a few days before. Muriel (in the blue pack) made sure we were secure by grabbing our packs until we were able to get onto the shingle bank. Cliff (with the yellow pack cover) steadied each person until Muriel had hold of them. By this time we were all pretty wet and had two hours left. The good thing about getting your feet wet is that you no longer care if you walk through puddles.
We were glad to get back to the shelter where we could change into the dry clothes we left in the car.