09 July 2010

New Zealand Jan 2008 - The Three Passes. Part 2

...Wilberforce R, Browning Pass, Arahura R, Styx Saddle, Styx R

Day 3, we headed up the Wilberforce River. Here you can see Hamer Falls again, below the rightmost of the Twin Peaks, and the grassy climb up Browning Pass (Noti Raureka). The 400m climb zig-zags at the bottom, but seemed to be ascended very quickly.

We're only about half-way up, but already the view down the Wilberforce is breathtaking.

Mt Harman/Kaniere, and Lake Browning/Whakatewa.
If you do this trip as a three-dayer, camping up high, this would be one of your spots. Gorgeous in the sun, but the water was very chilly.
From the Wilberforce up to Browning Pass, and over into the upper Arahura, we were following an old stock route for sheep being taken west. Apparently they had to be winched up the last part of Browning Pass.
The Arahura River initially drops 500m from Lake Browning /Whakatewa in less than 3km. Making it extremely active.

Continuing down the stock route, we were all a bit flummoxed at how they would have crossed the Harman River, as they wouldn't have had the high suspension bridge that we had (pictured left with Mt Browning behind).

We continued down the Arahura along the eastern flank of My Browning for a little longer and then climbed west into the Styx Saddle. This remarkable place is a suspended swamp, where the tramper must take care or they might end up slipping into a thigh deep muddy pond!

We were really getting into Westland territory, characterised by the lush green, and wetness underfoot. This was one of many sidestreams of the Styx River, as we commenced our final descent.

Oh, and did I mention the moss? This is a whole wall of moss, all of it drinkable. With only overnighting at Grassy Flat Hut to break up the walk alongside the river, we were treated to about 10km of this sort of vegetation, a sumptuous finish to our four days, 52kms travel, 2700m ascent and 3270 descent. A grand walk!
As seen on Andrew Purdam's Bushwalking Treasure Box blog.

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