Holdsworth - Isabelle Creek - Waiohine River - High Ridge (Map S26)
1-3 December 2000
A slight variation from the fixture card was planned for this trip, some of which did not eventuate because of some rather miserable weather on Sunday. The main focus of the trip was achieved but only in part as there remains a small section of Isabelle Creek to complete. Mike and I were on a school trip based at Holdsworth Lodge so we were able to set off for Powell early on Friday afternoon after the school party had departed. After a speedy trip to Powell Hut we were able to relax over a delicious three course meal and a game of cards while waiting on the rest of the party who arrived about 11 pm. We treated them to a hot brew before retiring to bed.
The plan for Saturday was to travel down Isabelle Creek to the Waiohine River and then up a spur to High Ridge and back to Powell Hut. I had arranged to leave our sleeping gear and evening meal in the wardens quarters at Powell Hut. We left the hut at about 7.20 am and were soon in the saddle between Mt Holdsworth and Isabelle which was our point of access to the second and longer of the two major branches of Isabelle Creek. After leaving the saddle we soon found the first trickle of water indicating the start of Isabelle Creek. The creek soon has many 1 to 2 metre mini waterfalls which are easy to negotiate by way of short bum slides. There are a few small slips in the creek but for the most part the travel is good andstraight forward until at 124330 and 123324 sidles are needed to negotiate more major waterfalls. In both cases good sidles were found on the true right.
Before the first of the sidles there is an enormous boulder which should be photographed before the sidle and not after when it is no longer visible. At the point of the second sidle there is a major waterfall in the second branch of Isabelle Creek; this waterfall is visible from Aokaparangi. From this point the direction of the creek changes from south to west and the creek is wider and travel faster.
After a lunch in warm and at times sunny conditions we continued downstream for about an hour when we were forced to make a high sidle on the true left. After a consideration of the time remaining and the distance downstream and up the untracked spur to High Ridge and along High Ridge to return to Powell Hut, it was decided to head up the spur and to leave the rest of the creek for another trip. Travel up the spur was very straightforward and the gradient seldom very steep. The predicted strong winds on the tops did not eventuate and our trip back to Powell Hut was uneventful. The tops travel was in good conditions with good views into the other branch of Isabelle Creek.
On our return to Powell Hut we were greeted by members of the weekend TTC trip. After a brew we set about preparing our evening meal which comprised a pot luck stew, soup and a desert.
The plan for Sunday, returning to the road end via the eastern range as far as South King and descending to the Atiwhakatu valley via Baldy, was thwarted by strong winds and rain. We decided on an early return home after a satisfying trip.
The party members were: Bill Allcock, Yvonne Ashworth, Colin Cook, Sieny Pollard, Mike Thompson and Dave Reynolds (leader and scribe).