Fyfe River to Branch Creek Hut

Anthony suggested we check out Branch Creek Hut, as neither of us had been there. We left Ruby Bay at midday and drove up the Owen Valley East Road and parked at the farm that allows access to Frying Pan Creek. There is a DOC sign there that states it is 14.6km to Branch Creek Hut and is eight hours.

Friday 17/06/2016
We left the car and headed off across the farm just on three o'clock wondering how bad the track would be, as a look at the map shows a track that should be a four to six hour walk. Worst case is we would not reach the hut until midnight, as we would be in the dark in a couple of hours; and that does get a bit slower.
Anthony in the car park
The first kilometers is easy going on a farm track, then a couple of kilometers to a fork shown on the older map which drops you into Sandstone Creek.
Heading to the valley
Easy few k's on the farm track
All nice and easy so far, then a climb of a couple of hundred meters which then dropped us down into Fyfe River.
Out of the Frying Pan
About two kilometers later we came to a small two bunk hut that is not shown on the map and is not on the hut baggers website. We stopped here to photo and investigate, discovering that it is a DOC only hut for the Whio recovery in this valley.
Fyfe Hut
The hut has two bunks, no fire, water from the river and a box toilet.
Fyfe Hut box toilet
Not long after leaving the Fyfe Hut we put our torches on. The track is easy to follow and well marked with OT's, the multiple river crossings kept our feet from getting too warm as we both where wearing runners. We walked past several pairs of Whio ducks, never saw them just heard them as they greeted us with there calls; probably annoyed that we woke them. The last few kilometers before the hut looked like they would be interesting to see in day light.

We arrived at Branch Creek Hut just before nine p.m.; which was a walk of six hours with three and a half of those hours in the dark.
About Whio recovery
Didn't take long to get a fire going in the open fire place, followed by food and a couple of drams of whisky. Went to bed about one a.m. and outside it was frosty and cold.
Open Fire
Saturday 18/06/2016
A bit of a cold morning with a late start, soon warmed up as we wandered back down the river getting wet feet not long after leaving the hut.
Branch Creek Hut
Took a few photos on the way out, however the narrowness of the valley never gave us great views of the cliffs.
Waterfall not long after leaving hut
View of the cliffs
Mostly a little river valley
Interesting berry's on the way out.
Raspberry looking
Vines on the tree
Saw a pair of Whio who did not see to mind us watching them, even recorded a bit of their calls.

Whio pair
More cliffs
Fyfe Hut on the way out
From Fyfe Hut it is a nice easy stroll back to the car with just a few crossings.
Valley South of Fyfe Hut
Map of Area

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Trip Times
Friday 17/06/2016
1455 Left the car at the Frying Pan Creek farm access area
1720 Fyfe Hut
1732 Left Fyfe Hut
2053 Branch Creek Hut
Saturday 18/06/2016
0935 Left Branch Creek Hut
1243 Fyfe Hut for lunch
1311 Left Fyfe Hut
1534 Back at the car

No bibles....

Sutherlands Hut - Aorangi Forest Park

Hat bag mission in the Aorangi Forest Park with Jessie, one of them things that involves what I call a short long drive. The drive to access Sutherlands Hut is interesting, we enjoyed the variety of scenery and the cliff zone as we drove to the road end. Seeing a number of vehicles at the end of the normal road we thought that the hut would probably be a bit crowded, hoping not full.
Cliff bits
I really enjoyed this road sign, photoed on the way back, makes me think of a forest full of hill billies and their shooters; maybe six fingers and twangy sounds of the banjo in the distance and if your lucky a cup of moon shine.
The road begins
And on down the road we drove, getting closer, we did stop to bag Waikuku Lodge and photo the place.
Haurangi Road
Getting there
Waikuku Lodge
Off down the four wheel drive track, meeting two lots of people coming out, and getting to our destination and finding it ever so empty.

Approaching Sutherlands hut
Sutherlands Hut
We went for another walk to check out the Avrills hut site. Mushrooms and nettle stinging.
The shroom tree
The hut must of been gone for years as there was not much to show where it had been.
Old sign parked in the trees
Averills Hut site
Dusk time and tree pair
We slept with a smokey open manuka fire.

Sunday 12/06/2016
Our pack up, sweep the hut, and head home day. With some pack weight checking before we left, Carl should remember this.
The heaviest on the right (Jessie)
Jessie packed and ready to go.
Some of the hill and old forest
More of that forest and hill.
We did get to the car just as the fat rain drops began to fall, and then it was wet.

Map Stuff

View Larger Topographic Map
Trip Times
Saturday 11/06/2016
1208 Departed the car at the end of the road and took the 4 wheel drive route.
1310 Sutherlands Hut
Sunday 12/06/2016
1038 Left Sutherlands Hut
1157 Back at the car

No bibles...