12 March 2013

New Zealand Feb 2012 - Dusky Track Days 6-8 - Loch Maree Hut and out

New Zealand Feb 2012 - Dusky Track Days 6-8 - Loch Maree Hut to Kintail Hut to Upper Spey Hut and out. It was a pretty wet and misty day all day, making our way up 10km and 200m, clambering through so many muddy bogs and over slippery tree roots. Doesn't sound like far or high, but it was pretty hard work!
Through that, "The surface of the earth is the shore of the cosmic ocean." - Carl Sagan
Hillside at Gair Loch
Gair Loch is in yet another really spectacular part of the Dusky Track, but we were so clouded in we couldn't see much!
Next day... Tripod Hill from below Centre Pass The weather cleared more or less and, after climbing 800m (in only 3km!), we were able to look back and down upon Tripod Hill (centre) and Gair Loch (at its feet).
From Mt MemphisHaving climbed 800m to Centre Pass, the opportunity then presented itself to climb a further 250m to the top of Mt Memphis, which afforded beautiful views north over the Spey River to Wilmot Pass Rd (that faint scar traversing down the spur near the centre of the picture, about another 8km away). Whilst only 1200m distance away from the top of Mt Memphis, tucked in below what we can see here, Upper Spey Hut takes most of the afternoon to get to, as you first have to return to Centre Pass before continuing your descent. Over all, 6km and 950m descent including a rapid drop next to what sounds like a 150m waterfall, only you never quite see it. Total day was 800m up and 600m down, plus another 250m up and down for Mt Memphis. Distance was 7km, plus another 4km round trip for Mt Memphis.
Upper Spey Hut, Dusky Track
Looking back in the opposite direction. Mt Memphis is the obvious one in the middle. Click on the pic for more details. The duckboards are really important here, as the whole of the Upper Spey Valley is completely sodden. 500m back up the track, segments of the tramp are through thigh deep water. I think the Dept of Conservation are leaving it as a deterrent to day trippers!
Spey River SplashThe final day still had one or two boggy spots, but was the best day for track conditions. 8km to Wilmot Pass Rd, and another 5km or so before you can put your pack down. Was nice to have a final dip in the Upper Spey before "hitting town" (ie the passenger terminal for the boat that takes you back to Manapouri).

Back to Day 5.
More photos at Andrew's flickr pages.
As seen on Andrew Purdam's Bushwalking Treasure Box blog.

11 March 2013

New Zealand Feb 2012 - Dusky Track Day 5 - Day Trip to Supper Cove

New Zealand Feb 2012 - Dusky Track Day 5 - Day Trip to Supper Cove

Loch MareeThe track from Loch Maree Hut to Supper Cove Hut is about 12km one way. Sometimes it is on "paved" paths, cut and laid by miners in the early 1900s, but some of it is just as boggy as most of the rest of the Dusky Track! Keep that in mind when considering a 24km round trip! That's a half of the total distance of walking straight through from Lake Hauroko to Wilmot Pass Road.
"As the ancient myth makers knew, we are children equally of the earth and the sky." - Carl SaganSo whilst it became quite a long day, it was still achieved by walking through some glorious bush!
Supper Cove - Mohona cover idea
Supper Cove, Dusky Sound.
Supper Cove really felt like a milestone for us, a landmark of why we came on this trek.
Back to Day 4. On to Days 6-8.
More photos at Andrew's flickr pages.
As seen on Andrew Purdam's Bushwalking Treasure Box blog.

New Zealand Feb 2012 - Dusky Track Day 4 - Tamatea Peak and Pleasant Range

New Zealand Feb 2012 - Dusky Track Day 4 - Tamatea Peak and Lake Roe Hut to Loch Maree Hut "Far better it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides." - Carl Sagan The day started with little to encourage us. The whole tops were wrapped in fog. Disenchanted, all of the other trampers finally headed off by about 9am or so. We hummed and haaed for a while and just as we were lacing our boots to head off to Loch Maree Hut, we saw a faint pale disk through the fog. Hoping that the sun might appear, we decided to head up Tamatea Peak. It was still so foggy, we needed to use a compass bearing to make sure we hit the right part of the flank of the peak!
Andrew on the side of Tamatea Peak Pleasant Range and Dusky Sound from Tamatea Peak
As we climbed higher and higher, the fog started to thin, and we finally burst through it about five hundred metres above Lake Roe Hut. The views were spectacular!
Looking backLooking back towards Tamatea Peak (to the left) and Lake Roe Hut (above my hat) from the ascent onto the Pleasant Range. Lake Roe is but a sliver above the hut. The Merrie Range is in the background. Tamatea Peak was a 700m climb up and down that we did that morning. We are probably a kilometre from the hut and about 150 metres higher, with another six or seven km to go, and a huge 840m drop at the end. Time to move on.
Lake Horizon Panorama Lake Horizon is nestled at about 1000m high, amongst the Pleasant Range. Our route is between the two lakes, skirting around the far lip of Lake Horizon, and then traversing on the right hand side of that spine. It was a stunning place to be, and one of the most beautiful parts of the Dusky Track.
No way but downAt the top of the insane 840m drop from the end of the Pleasant Range down to Loch Maree (visible behind my pack). Mt Solitary and Dusky Sound are in the background.

New Zealand Feb 2012 - Dusky Track Days 1, 2 & 3

New Zealand Feb 2012 - Dusky Track - Days 1, 2 & 3 Lake Hauroko to Lake Roe Hut

Tripod HillDusky Track is an six to nine day 50km walk in one of the most beautiful and remote parts of New Zealand. Tough walking, at times very tough, and very prone to flooding - expect a week of wet boots - but well rewarded.
Below is the profile elevation of the Dusky Track tramp, excluding the following side trips that we did, which were:

  1. Tamatea Peak (well, the adjacent Peak 1595), 720m above Lake Roe Hut
  2. Supper Cove (22km round trip) day trip from Loch Maree hut. A mixture of the best and the worst terrain on the whole trip
  3. Mt Memphis, 400m climb from Centre Pass. A glorious 2 hr ('cos of the bathing in the tarn) side trip.
Dusky Track Elevation Profile
The day stayover at Lake Roe Hut (due to inclement weather, and a desire to see the alpine tops in some sunshine), and the day trip to Supper Cove from Loch Maree Hut, meant that we had two extra nights to the five (we didn't overnight at either end) made for a seven night/eight day tramp.
I would recommend that you budget yourself eight days, and great weather might grant you an early mark. Many trampers do do the track in six days.

Day 1
Trackhead - drop off at Lake Hauroko Hut

Following the standard route (Lake Hauroko to Lake Manapouri, with a side trip to Supper Cove at the top of Dusky Sound) we were dropped by charter boat at Lake Hauroko Hut. The first day is quite a comfortable tramp through undulating beech forest, climbing only about 160m. About 3-4 hours takes you to Halfway Hut.
Day 2
View from Halfway Hut The second day, from Halfway Hut to Lake Roe Hut, climbs 550m over 6.5km. The track gets wetter and muddier in spots, as it continues to climb up adjacent to Hauroko Burn. By the time we reached the saddle at the top of the burn, a cold front had blown in, and - even though we were only at 820m elevation - conditions got very cold very quickly.
Day 3
"We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it's forever." - Carl SaganThe weather clapped out on day 3, so we stayed put in the hope that we'd get better weather for seeing the tops the following day. Lots of card playing occurred as all eight trampers who had started at Hauroko Hut two days ago squeezed in with a group of six doing some field work with Rock Robins
On to Day 4 and Tamatea Peak.
More photos at Andrew's flickr pages.
As seen on Andrew Purdam's Bushwalking Treasure Box blog.