After three nights in Nelson following my Waingaro/Anatoki little adventure, sorting out some personal stuff, I realised I only had about ten days or so before needing to be back in Nelson.
Visiting the final Paparoa Track hut was on my agenda, as was finishing off visiting the last two huts not yet documented in Nelson Lakes National Park. I had intended to drop into both Burn Creek Hut and Nardoo Hut last summer but some pre-Christmas heavy rain prevented me from crossing the Matakitaki River, a major tributary for the Buller River. DOC removed the swingbridge access to Burn Creek years ago, but with little recent rain the Matakitaki River is as low as it gets, and it now looks like that’s entirely possible.
Actually, I ended up crossing the river four times on my way up to Downie Hut, rather than humping up over some bluffs. The Matakitaki is the widest and longest river valley in Nelson Lakes National Park, and the walk is just a long trudge, so getting out onto the river flats gives much better views of the surrounding ranges, and practice at boulder hopping. With the temperature in Murchison around 20° C for the day, rinsing my feet helped cool me down. And I’d be getting wet feet anyway at McKellar Creek, or crossing the Matakitaki in the morning anyway.
Get in early!!
Despite the Matakitaki River being as low as it gets due to the lack of rain, I was quite surprised by the amplified depth where I chose to cross, and, wondered about my judgment in not packing away all my electronic gear. No, it didn’t look that deep.
DOC abandoned maintenance on the Burn Creek track, and few therefore use the hut up at the bushline.
After 30 years or so it may be overgrown.
I have been up to the hut before, but in my last year at school, ie, some decades ago.
The route is basically alongside Burn Creek, with one steep climb that I remember. I do recall hanging onto a length of Number 8 wire on one section all those years ago.
The area up the top was a gold mining area in the 1870s, with a return by other miners during the 1930s.
All that awaits tomorrow.
After another 20 km walk, this time up a fairly grand valley, I was going to sleep well.
I note that the last people to stay at Downie Hut was over three weeks ago. Even the last tramping visitor was two weeks prior.
Once again I have the accommodation for myself.