No more rain in the night, so I’m giving Browning Pass/Noti Raureki a try. Why not all the way to Park Morpeth Hut for the night, then return tomorrow?
The morning was relatively clear, even blue sky was spotted.
I packed everything up, and set off, still on the 1860s track. Some washouts, and eventually I dropped to the river for some rock hopping.
I found it easy enough to cross the river, much easier than anticipated, due to a mass of gravel having come down in a major slip quite recently.
Eventually, I climbed out of the river, again on the old track. That meant I needed to cross a couple of slips that were scree, before crossing back over the river once again above a 100 m waterfall, well, according to the map.
More climbing to get to Lake Browning/Whakarewa where the magnificence of the mountain terrain really became fully apparent. Little glaciers all around with mountains reaching about around 2000 m.
Time for lunch.
From the lake it wasn’t far to Browning Pass/Noti Raureki.
Nope! Nope! Nope!!
The Wilberforce River stretched out into Canterbury, but man, that was steep. And the slope was seriously loose, with nothing fixed to hang onto.
I guess I could climb that tomorrow morning, but I sure wasn’t ever going down.
I had been thinking of a steep pass similar to, say, maybe Waiau Pass, but this was just a cliff for about 400 m, and then it levelled out somewhat on a scree slope. I can handle scree, but not that chunky moraine.
The easiest decision: I was going back.
Nice day walk, except it started to drizzle.
Back around Lake Browning/Whakarewa, and now looking across to above the track I could see hundreds of loose house-size boulders, plus plenty of small stuff, just perched above the track.
A solution to this: don’t look up. Concentrate on foot placement and rapid movement.
At the crossing above the waterfall, a blue duck/whio nonchalantly went about its business. I was surprised to see it rock hopping with its web feet, aided by some flapping of wings, and particularly its tail.
Back to the hut without incident, just getting wet.
No surprise I was once again going to be the only one home.
Rounds of soup to warm up.
I had the shoebox-sized wood burner cranked up last night, but my sleeping bag seemed a cosier option in this instance.
Rain now hammering in. I’ll try for Grassy Flat Hut once again tomorrow.
It isn’t so far away, with no big rivers to cross.