Summer Trip – Medium - First Week in the Arthurs Pass area
By Jo Cochrane
Day one was a comfortable walk via the Waimakariri River, through Turkey Flats. Unpleasant wind on this day made sure we kept a good pace with no dawdling towards Carrington Hut and kept us to DOC’s time of 5hrs. The river crossings on this day were a bit exciting and required the group to link, poor Sally took an unscheduled dip and proved she has an iron grip proving linking is an effective way to cross. Carrington Peak loomed ahead signalling the impending hut. We arrived at 5:45pm very ready for dinner with Sally downing multiple warm drinks to warm up.
Day two was a lovely cruisy walk along the Waimakariri River, again with several river crossings but none as interesting as the first day. We scrambled over several rock slips, some being old and some quite recent - this walk has multiple avalanche warnings and with high peaks looming steeply above us, we could easily see why. We made good time in the first two hours following on the heels of Mary who is 80 but very spry.
Margaret and Sally decided to test the clarity of the river proving it was quite a bit deeper than it looked! We were lucky to have a magnificent view of snow capped mountains egging us on but the slope did slow us down and we reached the hut around 4.5hrs later.
Stunning location, nestled in between two mountains with views of snow capped mountains to the North and South, multiple rivers and waterfalls.
The very strong and cold wind ensured none were tempted to put our tents up and we had a very cosy night with 7 bunking together in Waimakariri Falls Hut with a mob of very active mice.
We were woken up on Day three by Keas sliding down the hut roof and were followed by them for the first stint of our hike back to Carrington Hut. We enjoyed long breaks in the sun and the main excitement was when a rock decided to unexpectedly gave way trying to throw Lynda in the river.
Day four and we were off to Barker Hut. There was plenty of boulder hopping and scree slope traversing on this day. We walked most of the day with a clear view of the hut atop the mountain which was a mixed blessing. We enjoyed clear blue skies within a majestic setting of Glaciers. Many of us did our best lizard impressions by basking in the sun and some were brave enough to enter Tarn waters.
Day Five back down the mountain and to Carrington Hut again, but not before a pleasant outdoor breakfast at the Tarn.
Day Six was Tony's rest day (yeah right!) instead he was a white knight and lead three young women back to Anti Crow Hut who had got themselves in over their head figuratively and literally where the river was concerned.
The rest of the group made our way up to Harman Pass and the Ariel Tarns via walking up a cascading river and beneath stunning waterfalls. We were rewarded with a view of White Horn pass and headed back to Carrington Hut the same day.
Day seven and we retraced our first steps back to the road where Hazel's timing was impeccable to pick us up - soon after the rain started to fall but we were warm and dry and ready to feast and drink at the Wobbly Kea.
The party were Jo Cochrane, Lynda Going, Margaret Law, Michelle Martin, Sally Johannesson, Tony Walton and Vicky King. Photos - Tony and Michelle