Angle Knob Hut - The Rematch
16/17 November 2018
The mission: Was still to visit the site of Angle Knob hut (which passed away May 1980), continue down into the upper Atiwhakatu Stream, explore a bit, and make our way downstream.
The forecast: Was much better than two weeks previously. We got up to Jumbo in 3 hrs, considerably warmer than before, and still in the light. The hut was empty, and we hoped this wasn't entirely due to DoC interpreting our request for 3 bunks as a request for 15 (!).
Saturday morning dawned fine-ish, and we were all up around 5 to watch the sunrise (but then snuck back into our sleeping bags to warm up). Off around 8.45, up the spur into the wind, and along to .1397, able mostly to stand upright, and then set off down the spur. This was fast at first, the spur gradually regressed to leatherwood and scratchiness, but then eased up as we approached the weather station just above the bushline. We wondered if this were the hut site, but the only pile-looking bit had obviously been cast using a post-1960 plastic bucket, so no. A bit further down and to the left we espied what looked like a bit of pile, and Sarah found the decisive evidence - the remains of a wire tie-down still sticking out of the tussock, but with the loop snapped at the top. It did seem an odd place to put a hut.
Continuing down to the left (thanks to John Rhodes' hints) we entered the bush, and Franz quickly noticed the remains of the hut below and to the right. To prove that the bunks were still usable, Sarah and Franz got on without falling through them or off them. (Franz even has his eyes shut! Ed.) Actually they were still in very good nick, if anyone needs a bunk, As is, Where is.
I cast around looking for the billy and primus that John Rhodes and Shaun Barnett had found https://www.wildernessmag.co.nz/rest-peace-angle-knob-hut/, but not having read the Wilderness article carefully enough, I wandered around pointlessly below the ruins, instead of 200m above. Oh well. Time for morning tea.
Franz suggested that, instead of heading east, directly down to the valley, we head north-east to join the Atiwhakatu further up, and explore upstream a little. We had very easy travel to where the side stream to our left met the teenage Atiwhakatu (The WTMC trip in Feb 2018, coming up from the east, encountered bush lawyer, so our route is longer but less scratchy). We dumped the packs on an Atiwhakatu beach, and headed upstream towards McGregor, to around the 900m contour, for 30 minutes easy travel, and a different glimpse of the spur above Baldy.
Returning downstream, the travel became very entertaining, with plenty of slippery progress, boulder slithering, walking-the-trunk, and interesting route-finding, but nothing deeper than thigh-deep (in controlled circumstances). It's clearly not a place to be after significant rain, with metre-wide trunks lodged across the banks in places. We basked in warm sun and lunched about half-way down. Three hours took us to the relative flatlands at the track swingbridge.
After that there's little to report. A refreshing cuppa at the Atiwhakatu Hut, and the car around 6pm. A thoroughly enjoyable and interesting day out.
- Party members
- Franz Hubman, Sarah White, Jonathan Ravens (scribe and photo)