Big day. With a few woolly bits.
Haven’t been talking in recent days about how I am over the trackless walking.
Still, I managed to make it to Jervois Hut. That involved two crossings of the Waiau, there and back. I wrapped everything in waterproof compartments, but the river crossing, despite being over knee deep wasn’t so bad.
The fun was getting up to the river terrace through the dense broom. The lower river flat was overgrown with broom so that took some effort to smash through to get to where I could climb up the escarpment. I left my pack at the bottom of the climb in a fairly obvious place. Nice walking for a while up to Jervois without that heavy pack.
No track, just a case of walking through the tussock and finding the occasional Passage through the matagouri and patches of mountain beech/manuka.
I wanted to visit the hut because I was wondering if I had visited the other crew in the area when I was working on the plant and animal surveys for the New Zealand Forest Service back when I was 21.
Not at all familiar.
A completely unrenovated hut now more than 60 years old, and surprisingly with a few visits, including the day before. Seems it is popular with hut baggers due to its general accessibility. Stony Creek Bivvy is another nearby hut, closer to Scotties, that involves a few kilometres of creek travel.
I’ve been to a few huts in my time, I guess I must be approaching 400 if I bothered to enumerate them, but don’t usually do it as a sport, ie, just so I can say I’ve been there. When I consider say, Fidget Bivvy in the Clarence that I walked nearby last week, I realise I’m too old, too tired to make the effort that’s required.
Even if I think about the huts of Nelson Lakes National Park I find that while visited the majority, there are still three that while I visited in my youth, I haven’t documented on my website and probably need to return to: Mt Misery, Nardoo, and Burn Creek. It’s a big expedition to get to these now.
Getting to Steyning Hut from the St James Cycleway proved another mini adventure. At the bottom of Charlies Pass a four-wheel-drive track peeled off that looked promising. After a kilometre it evaporated, and I was on the edge of a bouldery gully. I knew there were huge gravel cliffs around, but the gully looked promising. Plenty ugly going down steep slopes on head sized and shaped boulders, but fortunately there was no cut out at the bottom.
I crossed the Waiau River for the third time for the day and followed the river down. I made two attempts to find an old track on the river flats, but they were completely overgrown with broom, occasional bush lawyer, and sensibly resumed negotiating the boulders along the river.
Eventually I spotted a cut broom bush, and noticed a half washed away cairn. Oh, I was on a semi-cut track across the flats to a four-wheel-drive track, almost completely overgrown. Well, four-wheel drives hadn’t used it for a decade. Much.
I visited Tin Jug Hut but the No Trespassing signs were prominent so headed up for the major climb for the day on a four-wheel-drive track to Steyning Hut. That was one hut I finally recognised.
With heavy rain forecast for the following day, I thought I might as well have a rest day to recover from my 27 km, more than eight hour trek of the day.
Yup. It had been a big one.