This article was first published in the Tararua Tramper in April 1998
Hopeless Hut - Lake Angelus - Robert Ridge - <NOBR>Nelson Lakes National Park</NOBR>
5-8 February 1998
Making a pleasant change from the late night ferry crossing, this trip began with a Sounds Air flight. Our esteemed leader even suggested borrowing the luggage trolleys for our trip. In places I wish I had! We were met and shuttled to the Yellow House, St Arnaud in time for a relaxing meal and beers. Some of our party didn't feel the mains were big enough so they went on to entrees for a top up.
The next morning at around 8ish we were showering, having toast for breakfast and packing after a good night's rest on a mattress with a pillow!! One person showed out early on in the group, with her brand new boots. She kept up appearances throughout the trip with matching hats and even got to sit next to the pilot on the way home, due to her untramping-like appearance - a short black skirt and an almost see-through blouse.
We water taxied up Lake Rotoiti and then there was nothing else for it, but to pop the pack on and begin to wander up the Travers Valley. What a beautiful valley it is. Very easy stroll along the river and under sheltering beech trees with dappled light filtering through.
Hopeless Hut appeared earlier than hoped for. We made camp about five minutes beyond the lovely hut which certainly isn't Hopeless inside. It's church-like, a great place to sleep!
Saturday was our big day, going over Sunset Saddle. We thought we should leave early so Sam was decided upon. Another sunny day was fast appearing. On the way up some of us "hot" types lay against a waterfall that came tumbling over us. A totally cooling experience. Our group used a variety of ways to reach Sunset Saddle, some preferring to use the track, others going up right of the track and some keen rock climbers decided to do a Rock 3. Much to our leader's pleasant surprise we all made it safely to the saddle, after a grunt up, for lunch with an amazing view which also included our destination of Lake Angelus and the hut. Not often do you see that sight when you're out tramping!
The intrepid rock climbers of the group climbed Mount Angelus and had beautiful views. The others in the group took their time and made their way to Lake Angelus. It was so hot that each tarn had someone cooling off, with more or less on, depending who the tramper was.
At Angelus Hut we had tent city set up in no time as we met up with Warwick Hill's group. We had delightful meals-one group even had a chocolate fondue. However, even with suggestions of potential spreading of germs that group were not giving up any of their sweet smelling dessert. After entrees, mains and desserts plus red wine, the intrepid trampers of our group decided to walk around the amphitheatre of Lake Angelus. They set off at 8pm after much consternation but, our leader had his trusty GPS so we knew they were in good hands, and we would have our cuppa in the morning.
Just to make doubly sure a small support group watched darkness descend and looked out for any flash of torches. Every so often a torch would be spotted and we immediately responded with our torches. A great deal of flashing went on that night. The group returned safety around 10pm and were full of their adventure.
The next morning, at around 9am we left the lovely Lake Angelus and went up and along the exposed rocky Robert Ridge. Luckily the day was calm and we enjoyed the trip out, re-grouping at the shelter for cups of tea and any last bits of goodies. The shuttle was there waiting for us and we were off, not to Sounds Air but for showers. Unfortunately, one member of the group, who will remain nameless, put his stomach before cleanliness. We let him have it when he tried using his super smelly top as a pillow.
We had time for a quick beer on the way to the airport. What a way to debrief. We all agreed it was an excellent trip and our esteemed leader really deserved his title.
- Craig Hunt, Dawn Tuckwood, Lois Buckrell, Jenny Sanders, Tim and Lyn Kelly, Tony Balcombe, Ken Mosley, Nina Janyshiwsicyj, Sue Triggs, Paddy and Scott Gresham, Ilka and Stuart Brown (leader) and Marie O'Leary (scribe).