Eastern Hutt Gorge
13 March 2019
Arriving at Hutt Forks we found the Western Hutt un-crossable, discoloured and wave bearing whereas the Eastern Hutt just a few meters away was still in meander mode, a doddle to cross. Bill's plan, to travel about a kilometre up the Western Hutt before climbing out and heading for Maymorn, sank without (GPS) trace and alternatives were pondered over morning tea. We settled on the Eastern Hutt gorge, close to hand and 'familiar' to both Bill and myself.
So we retraced our steps, crossed the bridge and swung east, following a reasonable trail with some markings along the TL bank of the Eastern Huttı. The first kilometre of travel passed without incident but as the river commenced its swing around the base of the spur extending off lower Quoin Ridge the gorge proper began. We climbed a little, seeking easier travel but soon ran into kiekie which at one point required an offing of packs and a hands and knees approach. Continuing over steep ground we reached the first of two major side streams; a vantage point on the south side was an ideal place for lunch. As we were crossing the stream the animal tracks seemed to go higher but remained in steep country. The second side stream was crossed just above a couple of minor waterfalls and not long after the slope lessened and we were through.
The going was rather harder than I had remembered; perhaps we were a little too high. First time through, with Bill and Craig Morrison, going down river, we started at river level and I found photographic evidence that we passed below the two waterfalls in the second side stream. However a second time, with a Wednesday MF party, we did go upstream, I thought without difficulty, but another member of that party when questioned had rather different memories. Perhaps Bill's summation was the best: sF where 's' stands for short.
We crossed the Eastern Hutt, joined the sidle track and discovered the small stream this track crosses on its way south had been reamed out: bare sides and floor like a logging road cutting and with huge logs strewn along the banks. It seemed likely heavy rain had induced a slip which, lahar-like, travelled down the stream bed. Well worth another trip into the area.
ıAnother popular trip starting at the bridge follows the spur over .533 to near Bump 790 before dropping to Phillips Forks. From the bridge leaders often head south, crossing a swampy wasteland before gaining the spur; a better option might be to head east up river as we did until the spur nudges closer to the river.
- Party members
- Bill Allcock (leader), Colin Cook (scribe), Jenny Mason