By Jason, 03 June 2009Party: Craig, Regan, Jason
Some fairly haphazard and last minute preparations saw us heading away from Petone at 9:15pm on Friday night to start the four hour drive to the road end. The drive up was fairly uneventful although Regan's firm no heating in the car policy saw us all in our down jackets for the entire trip. We also spent the better part of an hour trying to find the start of the track as there was the possibility of driving half way to the hut up a four wheel drive track. Unfortunately nothing came of that and we found ourselves walking all the way up Parks Peak hut at 2am.
The walk in was generally pretty steep and quite slippery in some places, so we were all quite pleased to reach the junction at the summit and have a much easier 25 minute wander along the ridge to the hut. Although I have to say we were all pretty disappointed when we finally got to the clearing where Parks Peak hut stands... Because as we came out into the clearing all we saw was a sign on our left pointing to the next hut (2hrs away) and a square concrete pad outlining where Parks Peak hut used to stand... Not having mentally prepared ourselves for a night out in the cold we weren't relishing the prospect of doing so. Fortunately Craig looked around the rest of the clearing and saw a brand new DOC hut on the far side. Boy was a I glad!!!
We rose at the respectable time of 8:45 on Saturday and hit the track by 9:30. All of us were feeling the steep descent to Makaroro with a few complaints of jelly legs. I won the award for driest boots crossing the river on both days and as a result didn't have to put on socks that were frozen solid on Sunday morning :) Well worth the extra couple of minutes looking for a better crossing spot!!!
We stopped for a delish lunch of Delish PB on cabin bread( along with some cheese and perhaps the nicer option of some vege relish) a short way up the far side as we were all feeling the strain from a solid 1.5 hours walk. I'd forgotten how much energy cabin bread tends to give me and I was bounding up the rest of the spur behind the others afterward! It was well worth the walk up as shortly after reaching the bush line we were treated to a close encounter with three deer. This led to many comments on how good a nice steak would be for dinner, me promising myself I was going to get a rifle and Craig proposing we should ride the deer to Colenso to save carrying them.
On the far side of Tepuri we looked over to the last leg of our route over the tops and down to Colenso. Leatherwood. We decided keep going and get a closer look at what appeared to be a whole lot of not a lot of fun. On closer inspection we decided that it would be a bit of a scramble but more than doable. However, we piked. Well not really see Craig wasn't feeling very well, and I was feeling like I'd done 8 hours already (not 4), and Regan was a tired from carrying so much beer, and... And you see how the discussion went. We talked ourselves out of it and turned around heading back toward Kylie Biv hoping that it would be a respectable size. So we spent a pleasant late afternoon / early evening cooking up dinner, admiring the view, and getting a few photos of the boys in action. Oh and leaving our boots outside of the Biv over night...
... so that when we woke up in the morning they had a fair amount of ice on them. At least my socks were in normal sock like condition, Regan and Craig had to put on socks that were more like plastic climbing boots.
Sunday night saw us back at Parks Peak with a nice warm fire going. -6 outside and a balmy 27 degrees on the top bunk of the hut. Actually we were contemplating leaving the hut door open for a while because it was too hot to sleep. The evening was whiled away with general boy talk, keeping wood on the fire and numerous trips outside of calls of nature or to cool down.
Regan cooking dinner!!!
Seeing three deer
Imagining Craig riding a stag across the tops :)