Saturday, 13 September 2008

Woolshed Creek Hut

This time it was an overnight stay at the Woolshed Creek Hut near Mt Somers. This was an easy walk in of about 2.5 hours, but because of the overnight stay, we carried big packs.

We all met at Dorothy’s place in Hornby (because that is on the way out of town). Dorothy, Paul and I travelled in my car, and Les, Diane and Hans went in Les’ car. Les and Diane were only coming in for the day trip, Les because he had a cold, and wanted to make sure he was better for his a Diane’s big trip to America next week, and Diane because she had to work the next day. Hans was going to swap into my car for the return journey.

We were in the middle of a low pressure system, so the weather was going to be unpredictable. We had to be prepared for anything.

We travelled South to Rakaia, that being the easiest way out of town from Hornby, and then inland via Thompson’s track. To get to the start of the Miner’s track we drove up Jig road to a shelter, where we parked the cars, and got changed into our tramping gear.

The trip is through beech forest along the Woolshed stream. The track is easy and well maintained, so the going was easy. We stopped at an old abandoned coal mine for morning tea. The morning was cool, but sunny, with no wind. Ideal tramping conditions. From then the track goes up to Trig R, and then down to the Hut. This part of the trip is in the open, with views of the mountains all around, and up the Stour River Valley towards Lake Emily.

There were patches of snow on the ground, and plenty of Mud.

We arrived at the hut in plenty of time for lunch. The door to the bedrooms on the hut had been left open. We subsequently discovered the catch was faulty. The hut is a large 26 bunk hut, only a couple of years old. It had been the first time any of us had stayed there since the old huts had been replaced. A very comfortable place to stay. We quickly started eating lunch. Hans noticed some other people coming down the track, and we wondered if we would have company for the night. It was the Westy Walkers from West Melton. They were only staying for lunch before heading back, but they seemed like a fun group.

After lunch Les and Diane headed back to the cars along a 4 wheel drive track. The rest of us set out to explore the area around the hut, but as it looked like the weather was closing in, we did not want to venture far from the hut. There was a new swing bridge along the track up towards the Bus Stop, so we went to explore that. Its major use was obviously as an opossum highway. From there we walked along side a ridge that lead us to the track that continued on to the Pinnacles Hut. There it started to rain, so we went back to the hut.

The Westy Walkers had left by this time, so we settled in for the afternoon, doing a jigsaw, and reading magazines. We had the fire going nicely, so we were all comfortable. We could here a lot of thunder echoing about the hills, but could not locate where it came from.

Before dark we all started cook tea. Because it was only for 1 night, and such an easy trip, we could afford to take nicer food than normal. I had a pre-made Moroccan lamb, with some rice. Some Pea and Ham soup for a starter, and some fruit salad and an apple for desert. Hanz had steak and potato, Paul had a Pie (which he baked in tinfoil on the fire), Backed Beans, and a rice pudding. Dorothy had some concoction of rehydrated foods which she had made herself.

We were all off to be by 9 pm except Dorothy, who had stayed up to about 11pm to complete the jigsaw.

The next morning we were all up pretty early, and prepared breakfast, packed our packs , cleaned the hut and were ready to go about 8:15am. We followed the 4 wheel drive track back out of the hut. It was foggy for a while so we did not see much on the way out. After we got back to the mine, we decided we were getting out too easily, and so took the sidewinder track down to the creek. The trip down the hillside was steep, but it had recently been cleared. It was in beech forest so there were plenty of handholds to help us down.Even with the detour we were out by 10:15am. We changed into clean clothing, and drove to Hororata cafe for a second breakfast before heading back into the city. I was home by 1pm.

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