Mount Arthur Day Trip - Kahurangi National Park
In February and March of this year, we spent 38 days adventuring through the South Island. Twenty-four of those days we spent wholly or partially in the conservation estate. Our trip was anchored by participation in two club multi-day trips; and included a variety of day trips and some short rambles.
This was one of those day trips.
Our day began with an early rising at Salisbury Lodge. We had arrived at the lodge the previous afternoon from the head of Lake Cobb, via the Lake Peel track. (We had been advised at the DOC office in Nelson that the road to Flora Saddle was not suitable for non-four-wheel drive vehicles). Morning conversation focussed on the activities of three cavers on their final day exploring the limestone cave system not far from the hut. The existence of a Haast eagle claw and huge terraces in that system were two of the adventurous finds they related, so we were able to gain an awareness of the on-going exploration of the system.
It was a blue dome morning, and the day remained cloudless, so water was an important item for the day. We followed the Pyramid Ridge track over Gordons Pyramid and clambered around Horseshoe Basin to connect (at about 1,500 m) with the Mt Arthur Route from Flora Saddle car park. We were now in the company of other day trippers and by the time the summit (1,795 m) was attained more than a dozen people were admiring the views over Kahurangi National Park. By the time we retraced our route, it was a nine-hour trip.
But there was more to the day!
We had found the lodge a dreary place – a seventies’ time-piece with minimal late-day sun inside. We decided to pack up and make for Balloon Hut. How fortuitous a decision.
A comfortable 'long hour' across the Tableland got us to Balloon hut, and stimulating companions for the evening. Three Motueka residents, who were members of the Friends of Flora (FoF) volunteer group, were in residence. They were checking and re-calibrating the proliferation of traps on the Tableland. Mustelids were the target predator. They had had a ten-hour day in the field. This is a monthly commitment by the FoF group over a big area. Shared issues, focused on pest control, made for informative conversation.
By the time torches were extinguished it had been an exhilarating and informative day.
- Party members
- Tricia French & Bill Allcock (scribe)