Blue Lake, Nelson Lakes National Park blog | April 2016

If you see an opening in the calendar sometimes you just have to jump, make use of my Backcountry Hut Pass and have a few more nights in the hills.

There is a different flavour to the air when it’s cool, and that tingly feeling in the morning.

A long weekend in mid-autumn, if you wait any longer it will be winter, and snow, and cold, and avalanches, and possibilities entirely reduced.

Might as well go now.

I had a plan of the sort: get to a couple of huts to document, Coldwater and Cupola, then, umm, maybe the plan was more fluid. Try for Mt Misery Hut perhaps.

I’m usually there with a well-structured idea.

This time, maybe not.

I had five days, that’s five nights’ food, and some decent weather, barring the wet Saturday according to the forecast.

As it turned out I miscalculated the number of days, it was actually six nights/seven days, but, whatever, I thought I’d probably survive.

Being Nelson Lakes there was bound to be plenty of big climbs.

This is how it turned out . . .

+++++horizontal rule+++++

Day 1 | Coldwater Hut: just around Lake Rotoiti 2

Coldwater Hut as the sun goes down. | Day 1, Nelson Lakes National Park

T gets in his car to drive away. Then he stops, better take this, he says, my substantial supermarket load in the front seat.

+++++horizontal rule+++++

Day 2 | Cupola Hut, up amongst the mountain tops

Some beaut moss and mountain beech forest on the way up to Cupola Hut. | Day 2, Nelson Lakes National Park

A steady plod up the little valley, a good track, just up, up and up and then the last bit, 200 m straight up.

+++++horizontal rule+++++

Day 3 | Upper Travers Hut, not so far

I made it to Upper Travers Hut fairly early in the day. | Day 3, Nelson Lakes National Park

If yesterday I surprised myself in getting to my initially proposed destination, today, well, not so enthusiastic.

+++++horizontal rule+++++

Day 4 | Blue Lake Hut, up here again

On the way up to Blue Lake in the rain. | Day 4, Nelson Lakes National Park

That set the pulse racing, a sense of urgency as I contemplated all the house-sized rocks precariously perched high up the slope.

+++++horizontal rule+++++

Day 5 | George Lyon Hut, and some solitude

View of the Upper D'Urville valley and David Saddle from Moss Pass, 1785m. | Day 5, Nelson Lakes National Park

Where? This tramp has gone off the rails. I never anticipated getting into the D’Urville again but I must have started to need some solitude.

+++++horizontal rule+++++

Day 6 | Sabine Hut, big day down the D'Urville valley

Moss in the D'Urville River valley forest. | Day 6, Nelson Lakes National Park

After Morgans I abandoned the track for a while, just walking along the open river flats. There was plenty of low grass, nibbled by the deer if the large number of deer tracks was indicative, oh, and some boulder hopping and a few river crossings.

+++++horizontal rule+++++

Day 7 | over Mt Cedric and back to Nelson

Lake Rotoroa from near Mt Cedric, on the way to Lake Angelus. | Day 7, Nelson Lakes National Park

It’s exhilarating up high, no distractions, just wandering along, this time without much in my pack.