Cone Ridge

Ain't never spent the night in the hut Cone. So I want to sleep there amongst the fumes of the fine spirits from that place far away where they speak kinda strange and do magical things with barley. Sleep dreaming of the Isle of Mull.

Saturday will be a day of walking hard uphill into the quiet mist to be snagged by tree dreams. Old gnarly  giant trees coated in thick green moss ancient before the arrival of man; the forest slayer.

    ▪    On friday evening drive to the Waiohine Gorge road end and walk into Cone hut and taste some Ledaig from the Isle of Mull. If there is no sleep space walk to Tutuwai hut; after the whisky is drunk.
    ▪    Saturday morning up early and head up to Cone saddle and then to Cone. If weather not too bad go to Neill and back then head along Cone Ridge to Totara Flats hut for Saturday night.
    ▪    Ride a bicycle and kill an elephant.
    ▪    Have a tasting of some of the finest single malt Scotch whisky that exist in this time and place; being the Corryvreckan from Islay  giving us a relaxed evening of malted barley and phenol.
    ▪    Sunday have a leisurely sleep in with a nice walk down the river back to the road end and drive back to Wellington.
    ▪    Remove any religious matter from huts.

The malts.
The supplier of the malts Regional Wines and Spirits

16/04/2010 Friday

I and fellow tramper Stuart Little off with a late walking start of 2138 and an arrival before midnight. Still plenty of time to sample the Ledaig 10yo. What a fine dram the taste of young girl friend. A very white wine color, sweet young with subtle saltiness.

Could smell the smoke of fire long before arrival at Cone hut; interesting in the dark.

17/04/2010 Saturday
Some days I just cannot be bothered getting up early (nothing to do with whisky).  Headed off at 1011. Observing the artillary.
Cone Hut
Places to go.
Saddle signs
I be here this weekend and last weekend at about this time I was on the oppisite side on the Tararua Peaks; those two mud topped hills making the V.
The top of Cone has some very picturesque tarns. Was a great place for a cup of coffee.
Cone Swamp Thing
Cone Swamp Thing
Cone Swamp Thing
Cone Swamp Thing
Looking back at Cone before getting deep into the goblin forest.
Cone Ridge
Looking up the trunk of one of the large trees; these are the beasts that snag you with tree dreams when its dark and you are well and truely down the rabbit hole.
Tree View
Arrived before five at Totara Flats hut, very popular this weekend, had a few drams of Ardbeg's extremely tasty Coryvreckan while waiting for Stuart Little.
A fine meal of rice with vegetables followed by more of the Vreckan.

18/04/2010 Sunday
Sleeping on the veranda meant an early rising, we left Totara flats hut just after eight.

River view
Looking down the river near the flats of the last hut. The bridge before the car park, look down at the one deep pool and have a think about dropping off the bridge into it :-).
Swing over the river
Map of Walk
A final note:  The huts where clean; no religious matter was to be found and the fish grew more legs.
Pre-sleep noise DJ Alien and Infected Mushrooms.

Neill Ridge

Drove to Otaki Forks late Friday night and bivvied out in the car park to give me an early start. Just me and Classic of Islay and excellent weather heading from Otaki Forks to Neill Forks hut via Tararua Peaks and back to Otaki Forks via "Track not maintained" to Neill Ridge and along to Hector and back down Judd Ridge.  A weekend of weather perfection with Tararua wall to wall blue sky.

10/04/2010 Saturday
0708 Left Otaki Forks.
0846 Arrived at Fields hut. A photo looking down as I was heading away.
Wandering along Judd ridge with a view toward Dennan and Bridge Peak.
0914 Got to the turn off to Penn Creek and continuing on to Bridge Peak for a snack and cup of coffee.  Looking along the Tararua range leading to Tararua Peaks.
Watching gliders cruise the length of the Tararua's.
Getting close to the Tararua Peaks.
Over the other side watching a Kaka on the wing.
Looking back at the Tararua Peaks.
1416 The Maungahuka hut and its wee spot up high, great place for vision adjustment.
1504 Left Maungahuka hut and headed off down to Neill Forks.
1640 Finally got to the destination of Neill Forks hut.
Here for the night, so had food with a can of beer. Got the fire going to reduce that chill and finished off with Classic of Islay, a 2009 release, so tasty and in such a relaxed human noise free setting.

11/04/2010 Sunday
Woke up at six o'clock but still dark back to never never land and the waking up late. Got some human noise with a chopper dropping off hunters gear.
0920 Crossed the stream and headed off up the ridge track called "Track not maintained" which intersects Neill Ridge just before Neill. Excellent ridge walk with track remenants almost all the way. 
1129 Looking back at the ridge from Winchcombe.

1442 A few minutes from Kime hut.
1529 Passed Penn Creek turnoff.
1552 Left Fields hut.
1708 Back to the car at Otaki Forks.

And the map showing the circuit.

Nelson Lakes National Park Begley Saddle

Begley Saddle crossing from 1st to 3rd of April 2010. Three days and two nights.

A typical Nelson Lakes tramp, excellent weather, great views, sharp rocks, and smoking lounges to die for.  Three of us Anthony,  Ian, and a droid called magic. A few aims on this tramp:
  • Go up Travers valley and over the Begley saddle and climb Cotterell on the way.
  • Drink some tasty tasty whisky in a wild place. Refer to Tasty Tasty Whisky
  • Remove any religious material from huts and return to the depositer.
  • Bivvy out at least one night.
  • Return alive and well.

01/04/2010 Thursday
We headed off Thursday morning to get a 1030 water taxi.
Easy way up the lake as per usual thanks to Audrey on the way up and Calum on the way down.
There is info here on Rotoiti Water Taxis
Today's favourite fungi on the way up the Travers is the furry ringed brown things.
Other contenders:
The days destination is Upper Travers hut, nice location and great views. Thankyou DOC. Nice destination for a whisky.
02/04/2010 Friday
Friday morning we start the day not to early, and head off up the scree slope near the hut. Above the scree looking back into the Travers valley. Didnt get the saddle directly we got to a high point about 100 meters South. Easy to travers along to the real saddle. There are several places where its easy to descend into the South branch of the Begley.
Anthony at the high point beside the Begley saddle, we where happy to be here as last attempt we missed the saddle and, due to my most awesome navigation skills, we ended up back in the Travers valley. GPS?
Looking back at the saddle.
Heading down the valley on the Begley side of the saddle and a nice place for another wee snack and another chance for someone to leave things behind. Didn't you have walking sticks?
As we head down valley we can see where the Begley meets the Rainbow and have a great view of Mt Iris (2114m). Brings back memories of one of those great climbs with Ben and other members of the  Nelson section of the NZAC.
On we go taking longer than planned to get down this branch of the Begley and push our way thru the stunted forest, avoid the wasps and cross the creek with anothe bush bash up onto the track to the Begley hut.  Not our destination. We stop for snacks and a read of the hut book, goes back to 1999.
Most surprising is that a fellow tramper wanders in as we get packed up to head up above the waterfall. He has come from the Hamilton river and tells us that its good travel up valley. We head on up with views of Cotterell Peak; such a jagged series points.
And our 30m waterfull comes into view that is ascended on the true left to an unusually large bedroom.
What is this old fence doing here?
The bedroom and us in our bed clothes ready for a sleep.
03/04/2010 Saturday
Dew covered we slept and woke early as it was a bit chilly. Packed up and headed up valley seeking a sunny spot for breakfast. Took my boots off to dry them out and found that my socks seem to be quite holy.
Is there a war on?
Looking down the Travers valley and can see the roof of John Tait hut, and the avalanche debris from 2008.
The view of Mt Cupola is excellent, can even see the Cupola Basin hut, the white dot to the right of the center.
Looking back up the ridge from the scree slope we choose to ascend. We are heading for the forest ridge line, which will give us almost a straight line to John Tait hut.
Inside the forest it is clear and easy to walk.
We get down to the Travers river and barely get our feet wet crossing, then thru the bush for less than a minute and onto the track. Ten minutes to John Tait for another snack and drink stop.

On the way down and a last few of Mt. Travers.
Looking into the sun I take this photo of a robin; bottom right there is a small beetle in an opposite pose.
The nest in the trees. Is it a wasp nest?
Taxi is coming.
Leaving Coldwater hut behind on the way back to Kerr Bay.
A view of the boat legs.
So the Begley saddle walk is over, did we meet our objectives? Nope, not really which is good as there are a few reasons to go again. Winter would be best. As the climbs on Cotterell look like they would be steep and enjoyable.

The didn't stuff is:
  • didnt have enough whisky
  • didnt find any religious matter to remove
  • didnt climb Cotterell
The dids are:
  • we had a hell of a good time
  • awesome weather
  • "found" the Begley saddle and went down the other side
  • slept out
And the route we took is as follows: