Dusky Track [Part B]

6-13 November 2017. From Loch Maree we re-crossed the Seaforth River on what must be the longest 3-wire bridge in New Zealand. (Or maybe the world – I’m not sure they have 3-wire bridges anywhere else!)

This bridge ends with an aluminum ladder descending into knee-deep water; from there it’s a long wade onto “dry” land.

Jane Creek was a raging torrent.

A good thousand metres of climbing later we came out onto the open tops of the Pleasant Range. It lived up to its name … sometimes. We won’t mention the driving hail… And have no photographic evidence to back that up anyway!

We stayed at Lake Roe Hut, which, despite its name, is just above Lake Laffy. It snowed overnight; making even the dunny look like a picture postcard.

The weather didn’t improve, so we settled in for a hut day. The wood left at the hut was wet. And the new snow made it rather difficult to find dry wood. So we weren’t getting a lot of warmth out of the fire.

Clearing weather late in the day offered great views. And the chance to collect some better firewood!

Lake Roe hut has an idyllic setting.

The weather cleared the next morning so we headed up into the Merrie Range for a day trip. First stop was Lake Roe.Kiwi prints in new snow above Lake Roe.

Lake Roe and the southern Merrie Range.

Old moraines are highlighted by the snow,

An unnamed lake in a deep hollow on the Merrie Range. We climbed to around 1515m in the Merrie Range. The forested valley of Hauroko Burn appears like a hole in the snowy landscape.Views from the Merrie Range towards the Heath Mountains.

Further progress was blocked by sastrugi. An ice axe and crampons were necessary – but we hadn’t brought them.

In the distance is Solitary Peak – the northern extent of the Dark Cloud Range. We’ve now sighted both ends. Our traverse starts early March – weather, transport and fitness permitting.

Our next day’s destination: Hauroko Burn Hut on Lake Hauroko at the end of Hauroko Burn.

A last view of Vincent Peak in the Kilcoy Mountains.

Foliage overhanging the river

Leftover items in Hauroko Burn hut made for an interesting “still life”. Featuring a home-made mug, toilet paper, insect repellent, ear plugs, candles and coffee. Everything needed for a comfortable night in the hut!

Lake Hauroko, with Caroline Peak above. Joyce and Johan, the boat operators, picked us up from this point.

A male tomtit with a nice juicy worm!