The Heaphy Track- New Zealand September 2011

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The Heaphy Track- New Zealand September 2011

Postby Tofu_Imprint » Sun 23 Oct, 2011 4:53 pm

Hi guys, it's a pretty long report, but may interest some. I will upload pictures later on my blog [url](http://turnedeverystone.blogspot.com/)[/url] and here.
:)

Heaphy Track 2011:

Pre-Heaphy:

I was dropped off in Collingwood, Golden Bay, early in the hours of the morning. I had my hiking pack only, and it was pissing down with rain. We said our goodbyes, then it was just me. Finding shelter was an issue. You would expect most towns to have a gazebo or similar for public shelter, not New Zealand! Beautiful country but rubbish in the public shelter department. After having rain drive into my face under a street awning for awhile, a guy about my age randomly came up and introduced himself. His name was Mark, he’d moved over to work recently with a mate. He was curious as to what I was up to. When I told him I was doing the Heaphy track the following day, he looked at the sky and called me mad. I had to agree, the rain was practically horizontal due to a fierce Northerly. After talking with Mark for awhile he left to go to work. I made for better shelter. The Collingwood memorial hall looked inviting, if I broke a window I could be nice and warm. Fortunately common sense prevailed. I stood out the front of the memorial hall, the entrance was U shaped so I was free of the wind as well. Two young womenrocked up in a beat up wagon, tourists like me. One of them went to the toilet and the other one tried not to laugh at a despondent looking me. We got talking, her and her friend were from Taiwan. They also thought I was crazy to be leaving for a walk the following day, this was becoming a recurring theme. After they left, I decided to go and book the 4WD transport I needed to get out to the start of the Heaphy track. I trudged up the hill to Somerset backpackers where an older man and his wife answered the door. Turns out that he was the district dentist as well as taxi. After handing over $60 he commented that he’d cleared me out of cash. I resisted the urge to tell him he’d be good at that wouldn’t he, and instead said, “don’t need money where I’m going mate”. This seemed to perplex him slightly but we ended up arranging a pick up time of 0645. I wanted an early start in case the bad weather caused problems with river crossings.

By this stage it was 1400, late enough to book a cabin at the dodgy looking Motor camp. And of course the old man at reception asked, “not doing the Heaphy are ya?”. It cost $25, cheap but I had to use a sleeping bag with a jumper as a pillow (something I’m extremely good at). By the time I got to bed the weather was worse, not better like it was supposed to be. I was worried about access to the track the following day, as well as track conditions. Lights out.

Day 1:

I woke up at 0600, checked and triple checked my gear/pack, then stood outside and ate a banana whilst waiting for the dentist taxi, in a phonebox. The weather had not improved at all. The dentist taxi arrived, he had checked the river levels before he left using a free phone service, he seemed to think we would make it, at least most of the way. There were three river crossings on the way. The first two were flowing quite fast and deep, we made it through ok. The last one wasn’t as bad, but I was glad not to have to walk the extra distance. We arrived at the track beginning. He wished me well and we parted ways.

Now, the Heaphy track. The Heaphy is one of nine great walks that New Zealand holds. It measures 78.4km and tracks through the Kahurangi National Park, from the North of the South Island down towards the West Coast. It is a 4-6 day walk with seven huts along the way. I had decided to do it in three nights and four days. The distance for the first leg was 17.5km of gradual incline, it was supposed to take five hours, but with the bad weather I expected a little longer. Also, I was carrying everything myself, about 20kg worth.

I began the first leg, signing the intentions book at the first hut. The weather was ever changing, but generally miserable. Two mountain bike riders were coming the other way, they told me that they had had to wade though a section of water, I prayed that this wouldn’t happen to me. The bird calls were constant, and every few kilometre or so this specific type of bird would jump out on the track in front of me. The weren’t afraid at all and seemed quite curious. I also saw Kea, a mountain parrot and others that I don’t know the name of. Everything was wet and every mountain spring seemed to have flooded the track. It was very rocky at times but well formed. Every now and then I had a good view of the surrounding mountains, and the river raging in the valley below (The Heaphy River I believe). Then it would all be gone with the windswept clouds obscuring everything. There was a constant drizzle, the kind that tricks you into thinking it’s not too bad, but then you reach the end of the day and you’re soaked. Fortunately, having learned the hard way about this previously, I managed to keep relatively dry.

At 910m altitude, there was a short side-track to the highest point on the track lookout, it was named Flannigans corner. The track was gnarled old roots that were slippery as hell, up the top it was blowing a gale, yet rewarding. Waterfalls only active after heavy rains were cascading down the mountainside. There was a rainbow and two unicorns were grazing nearby, the rainbow was true at least. I clambered carefully back down to the main track, and set off again. Shortly after, I passed the “Hut is 1km away” sign. I was glad, my feet were tired after the arduous rock workout, I was also hungry. Some more Mountain bike riders (MTBers) were in the hut eating a late lunch, they seemed pretty hardcore. One of the riders told me it was going to snow tonight. I hoped not, tomorrow was a 27km day. With snow it would take forever. After they left I was alone. It was refreshing, I had to clean up all their mess which I did not appreciate, but after an hour the hut was spick and span. I got the fire going and brought in a good sized pile of wood. The hut had a gas top, a woodshed, and bunks for 24 people and a decent sized eating area. I was the only person in the hut. I loved it.

The hut was located at a place called Perry’s Saddle, it had great views (clouds permitting). Many Keas were around outside as well, constantly trying to get inside whenever I open the door. It had to be the windiest spot I’ve encountered yet in New Zealand. Occasionally when it was raining I could see it being blown across the mountain. I was unsure if the weather was going to get worse, but I was prepared to retrace my steps if there was heavy snow. Tomorrow I would be walking for most of the day, passing two huts and staying at a third. The distance is 24.2km, not 27 as mentioned earlier. There is one point which is prone to flooding in between the 2nd and 3rd hut, I was going to be cautious if the rain kept up. The visibility was ever changing. I had forgot candles but I found some half-used in the hut. All I could think about was dinner, and when I could eat it. As I was aiming for an early start again tomorrow, I went to bed early dreaming of the beautiful landscape.

Day 2:

I woke up early again, at 0600. All night the rain had poured, the wind had howled, and I lay wondering. I was at Perrys Saddle, and it seemed to me that the weather, in this particular saddle was wild and unpredictable. I ate porridge, and packed all my gear, I was being very careful with weight distribution. It can be the difference between a stuffed back or not. I’m also (unsurprisingly), a little OCD about gear placement.

I set off not too long after 7am, I’d waited for a lull in the rain to appear. This section of the track was very rocky, with many water crossings where springs were overflowing. I’d heard from two MTB riders that they had had to wade through some water and I wasn’t looking forward to that at all. It’s one thing to wade through water on a nice summers day, and another to do it with hail in your face and freezing winds. A little way down the track, the DOC ranger from the previous night was crouched down holding a very large aerial. I asked him what he was up to and he told me he was listenging for a signal transmitted by tagged Kiwis (endangered native birds). After talking for awhile I set off again, next stop Gouland Downs hut. This was a 7km first leg of the day.

Coming down around 200m in altitude into Gouland Downs was amazing. The forest turned into plains of open grasses, shrubby trees, and surrounded by the beautiful Gouland Range. It was here where the fog/cloud cleared enough for me to see all the snow that had fallen the previous night. Judging from the map, it had fallen in places 500m. I was glad not to be trudging through it!

The weather didn’t seem to stop the birdlife from having a good time, they were everywhere! I had not idea what half of them were, but it was nice all the same. Two rivers were in flood, so I had to go via the swing-bridge detours. I was getting used to these, but it was still unnerving, when the wind gusted whilst on them, it felt like the damn thing might snap in half. The final bridge crossing coming to Gouland Downs hut was pretty intense, the river was extremely swollen. Nevertheless, I made it across the bridge without any dramas, and Gouland Downs hut was welcoming me with open arms. The door had being left open, and a Weka greeted me inside (Native bird). We managed to scare each other sufficiently! I made some tea and then went off trail into the forest to look for caves (a local had told me about them prior). It was an eerie blair-witch like foest. Sphagnum moss was growing on everything, and the ground was extremely soft underfoot. Several times I thought I was falling into a cave, it sank down that deep. And then I found one, I shone my headtorch in and didn’t see an end, it looked like a large cavity but had a small opening. I didn’t try to get in, it wouldn’t have being a smart move by myself. I went back to the hut and set off on the next leg of the day, 5.4km. The walking was again rocky, and because of the heavy rain, washed out in many places. I was glad to have good tramping boots, at this point in time I wouldn’t have sold them for any price!

I was continuing my walk along the Gouland downs, but it wasn’t such a wide open space anymore, it was more of a mountain top sub-alpine area. There were some amazing rock formations and stunning colours in the trees and grasses. 75% of the time I was being hailed on. It was a stinging pain having hail driven into my face on and off. I was sure I’d laugh about it later. Just as I reached Saxon hut, the weather turned really bad. Someone had left some biscuits inside, as well as some milk powder. The whirring of the duct on the toilet outside, sounded like a jet turbine spooling up, I thought it was going to fly off into the stratosphere! After resting for half an hour, I set off on my final leg for the day, 11.8km. This would make the total distance travelled for the day approximately 24km.

As I meandered out of the hut, I took note of a sign warning me that after heavy rain “certain parts of this track are impassable”. The weather got progressively worse, with occasional teasing glimpses of sun. I was heading down into Mackay downs now, it was much the same altitude, and the terrain was much the same, just boggier. Luckily for me the flood plains weren’t flooding severely. Without the basic boardwalk that had being put in (was very long), I would have being very wet. Some sections of the boardwalk were partially submerged also.

As I was making my way up the final hill to James Mackay hut, I was passed by some MTBers who had the same final destination as me. I arrived at the hut and quickly got one of the single bunks, lucky for me I did this because there ended up being 15 of them! The hut was practically full, the steam from the wet clothes actually set off the smoke alarm! The group was of an older age, the average age would have being 35-45, one man was 61! There were all from Christchurch, and this trip had being 6 months in the making. One guy had even brought a bottle of Sambuca up in one of his panniers! These guys were pretty cool, I stayed up til around 8pm (late for me on this trip), talking and staying warm near the coal fire. Becoming tired I went off to bed, the old blokes were rowdy for awhile, then they departed for bed as well. A symphony of snoring ensued.


Day 3:

I woke up at 0545, the other guys were still snoring away. I moved my gear into the main room so I could pack it up and not disturb the peace too much. This is always difficult when the sun isn’t up yet! Whilst packing I tried out a freeze-dried muesli with yoghourt and apple, just add water! It sounded a little dodgy but it ended up tasting great. The previous night we’d watched snow swirling around outside the hut, trying to permeate our warmth, fortunately not too much had settled. I finished the muesli and left earlier than usual. The first section of the day was 12.5km, but it was all gradual downhill from around 600m down to 20m in less than 5 hours. This was the beginning of my troubles with my left ankle. Something didn’t feel quite right. Each morning I had being careful to stretch properly, but it was quite cold, and perhaps I didn’t stretch properly one day. In any case, after stepping off a rock and straight into a mud pit up to my knees, I felt a noticeable twinge in my left heel and knew I had aggravated it further. Though an easy downhill section, it was treacherously slippery, boggy and with many ruts from excessive rain. I found a branch to use as a walking stick, to take some of the pressure off the foot. At this stage I was about 44km into the track, after this 12.5km streatch was another 9km, then 16.5km on the last day. One of the MTBers came past after a few hours and gave me a Voltaren tablet, which I was grateful for. I cursed my bad luck and continued plodding along. I still had many kilometres to cover.

Eventually I came out at Lewis hut, right on the Heaphy River. Day three was definitely the best weather so far. Lewis hut was nice, a bit older than the others I’d seen but full of character. It also had an emergency trunk radio which none of the other huts had. All of a sudden a helicopter landed on the river rocks outside, I thought I was hallucinating at first! It was just a DOC ranger checking things out, he was gone in a matter of minutes, what a job! A lone MTB rider arrived, he was headed back the way I’d just come. On average the MTB riders seemed to do sections of the track in around half the time it took me to walk them, though I didn’t envy them, it was more of a tramping track than a MTB track. Most of the bikes I saw were worth a few grand each, pre-upgrades! The lone MTB rider seemed keen to talk, but after a while we parted ways. I still had 12km left. For this leg I was walking alongside the Heaphy river practically the whole way. There were three long swing-bridge crossings, which were good fun. The birdlife actually seemed to increase, each time I stopped a bird would land near me out of curiosity, or perhaps looking for food. The regal looking swans (I think?) on the river seemed annoyed at my presence, and bowed their heads in order to snub me. I suppose you can’t expect all the birds in NZ to love you! And of course the Wekas would stalk my footsteps in the hope I’d dig up a tasty treat. After some time, I realised that the river seemed to be fighting against itself, swirling both ways. When I finally reached Heaphy hut, I found out why, it ran into the sea and was affected by the tides. There was a DOC ranger actually on duty in the nearby staff hut, this made a change from the rest of the trip.

I’d finally reached the West-Coast! It was rugged, beautiful and deserted! One of the perks of hiking in crappy weather, not many people! There was just one other person in the 28 man hut that night which was fine by me. He was a MTB rider who’d done 63km in one day, and was returning the same distance the following day! I had to take my hat off to him that is a fair distance. I limped inside, lit the fire and then risked permanent debilitation by going for a walk on the beach. It was full of driftwood, with random pieces oddities strewn in between. The tide was out, but the sea was raging. It was close to sunset but the visibility was relatively low. Even so, it cleared up enough for me to snap some alright looking pictures. I also grabbed a nice piece of driftwood as an extra walking stick. By this stage I knew something funny was up with my Achilles. I opted to head back for dinner, which ended up being another packet affair. I liked the packet meals because they were light, and had enough energy to keep me going. Light was disappearing quickly outside, we donned our head-torches and lit some candles. There was an interesting book on the history of the Heaphy track. It had excerpts from hut builders, trampers, rangers and stockmen on the track from over 50 years ago. I read for awhile then went to bed to listen to the pounding of the West-Coast waves. It was quite soothing, especially with the flicker of flames from the wood heater.

Day 4:

I’d hoped for an overnight magical renewal of my ankle, unfortunately for me this wasn’t the case. I’d slept in knowing that this was the shortest and last leg of the trip. Only one thing stopped me from sleeping past 0615, a beach with a tricky tide crossing. Around 2.5hours into this particular leg, was a beach that was dangerous, and impassable at high tide. Carrying a heavy pack, and with an injury, I wanted to make sure I cleared this beach as soon as possible. A heavy pack and an injury would not mix well with the raging torrents of mother nature. I made porridge and ate outside with the Wekas. The fit cyclist was readying himself for the return journey. Neither of us were thrilled at the current weather, endless drizzle, strong winds off the coast and not a glimmer of sun to be seen. After shaking hands the cyclist set off, shortly after I did the same in the opposite direction. I needed my new walking stick more than I cared to think about. Before I’d set off I’d taken two ibuprofen to try and ease the pain. It didn’t really do anything. With each step, it was like a bow was being drawn back in my left Achilles. And, when it was nice and taught the grim reaper of ankles would release the bow and my Achilles would twang in shock. I was confident that I could finish the trip, but the pain level was increasing and I was worried about what sort of damage I was doing by walking on it. My biggest fear was not being able to continue, but even if that happened I had spare food for another 3-4 days.

I leaned heavier on my driftwood saviour stick, and tried to distract myself with the sheer beauty of the West-Coast. I was walking alongside down the coast. Huge waves caressed bigger boulders. The ferns and palm-like trees glistened with the wetness of the rain. Under the canopy birds called, and an increasing temperature created a humid environment I hadn’t thought possible. Remove a thermal, add a rain layer, temperature control can be a pain in unpredictable New Zealand. Thus far I’d endured snow, driving hail, drizzle, full blown rain and occasionally rays of sunshine. All in the space of 4 days!

A curious Weka approached, foraging in my footsteps, I’d decided that these birds were the bush-chooks of New Zealand. At this stage I was still pushing myself, I didn’t want to have to wait for the tide to recede. The walking continued, occasionally I would come across a land-slip on the track. The detour was often short, yet arduous given the conditions. All the rivers running into the ocean were swollen, slowing my progress. Most of them could be crossed safely, but the major ones had detour swing-bridges in place that I was glad for. The ones that didn’t have bridges I had to choose the safest path through the river using rocks and occasionally being calf deep in water (on top of rocks). This is where good boots shine, mine are waterproof right up to the tops of the boot. I actually made good time reaching the halfway point, half an hour under the expected time duration. Shortly after this, I reached the area with the dangerous beach crossing. The tide was coming in slowly, but I was 2 hours away from high tide so I crossed. A random white hardhat caught my eye in the driftwood, I hoped it wasn’t from a man overboard. After the beach crossing my body realised it could slow down, and it did, to a crippling pace. The last 5km were the hardest of the entire trip. Ascending, descending, graded walking, all were painful by this stage. To make matters worse, my right Achilles became very sore, though at this point I had no idea I’d end up with the same injury in both feet. Still, I was close. When I finally saw the shelter I was immensely relieved, and euphoric. Two old people gave me a look of encouragement from their campervan as I stumbled past. I sat down heavily and for awhile didn’t even take my pack off. Sandflies descended on me, NZs equivalent of Mosquitos. I was 20km or so away from Karamea, and planned to call a local taxi to pick me up.

Note on injury: When I got back to Australia I found out I had Achilles tendonitis in both feet, it takes 8 weeks to recover. It was very painful and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, fortunately the Physio is helping me with ways to strengthen my ankles and be able to tackle longer walks. I’ve definitely learned from the experience!
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Re: The Heaphy Track- New Zealand September 2011

Postby Tony » Sun 23 Oct, 2011 6:42 pm

Hi Tofu_Imprint,

Thanks for a great report, I really enjoyed reading it, for me it is a very timely reminder what tramping on the South Island can be like, I am hoping to do the Rees/Dart next month if it is open by then, it has been around 36 years since I did any tramping in South island.

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There is no such thing as bad weather.....only bad clothing. Norwegian Proverb
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Re: The Heaphy Track- New Zealand September 2011

Postby andrewbish » Sun 23 Oct, 2011 10:02 pm

Enjoyed the report, Tofu. Those huts are massive. Looking fwd to seeing the pics.

With so many huts on the track, did you carry any shelter?
What temperatures did you experience?
Given how much precipitation you had to put up with I am keen to know what you used as a shell.
Twitter: @andrewbishxplor Blog: Trails & tracks
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Re: The Heaphy Track- New Zealand September 2011

Postby forest » Mon 24 Oct, 2011 8:37 am

Thanks for sharing.
Muchly appreciated the time it takes to write such an inclusive report.

I'll be on the Routeburn in two weeks from now... Hopefully the weather is a little better for my wifes first multi night walk. I have warned her though about the 4 seasons in one day NZ climate !!
I am a GEAR JUNKIE and GRAM COUNTER !!

There, It's out. I said it, Ahh I feel better now :lol:
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Re: The Heaphy Track- New Zealand September 2011

Postby Lindsay » Mon 24 Oct, 2011 8:12 pm

Great report tofu....makes me want to try it myself. :D
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Re: The Heaphy Track- New Zealand September 2011

Postby Tofu_Imprint » Tue 25 Oct, 2011 9:34 pm

Tony wrote:Hi Tofu_Imprint,

Thanks for a great report, I really enjoyed reading it, for me it is a very timely reminder what tramping on the South Island can be like, I am hoping to do the Rees/Dart next month if it is open by then, it has been around 36 years since I did any tramping in South island.

Tony


Thanks mate. Good luck with the Rees/Dart if you go ahead with it. I plan to go back next year to do the Leslie-Karamea track.

andrewbish wrote:Enjoyed the report, Tofu. Those huts are massive. Looking fwd to seeing the pics.

With so many huts on the track, did you carry any shelter?
What temperatures did you experience?
Given how much precipitation you had to put up with I am keen to know what you used as a shell.


Thanks, still working on the pics, but hopefully get a few up tonight :D Good questions by the way.

With so many huts on the track, did you carry any shelter?
I did, but you don't have to. In fact your not allowed to use a tent anywhere but in the designated spots at the huts on any of the 'Great Walks'. It was pure personal preference. Basically I'm a big believer in preparedness, especially when I'm solo. So if this means lugging a tent around on a track with 7 huts, then that's the way it is! I was glad to use the huts, except for that one night with all the bikers (which was a bit cramped).

What temperatures did you experience?
I can't give you exact temperatures, but it was bitterly cold in some spots. According to the DOC website, the average daily high/low is 14/5. At a guess the low was more like 3, and the high 10-11. I would hazard a guess that the strong winds, combined with some fairly exposed sections (with the driving hail :D ), contributed to my perception of it being cold. Sorry I can't be more helpful here.

Given how much precipitation you had to put up with I am keen to know what you used as a shell?
I use a Westcomb eVent jacket, it's the vaporFX model. I seriously love this jacket although it was expensive. I have used it in snow hiking as well. I used Mountain Hardwear overpants for the entire trip also.

forest wrote:Thanks for sharing.
Muchly appreciated the time it takes to write such an inclusive report.

I'll be on the Routeburn in two weeks from now... Hopefully the weather is a little better for my wifes first multi night walk. I have warned her though about the 4 seasons in one day NZ climate !!


No worries, good luck mate! That's another track on my to do list next year!

Lindsay wrote:Great report tofu....makes me want to try it myself. :D


Do it! 8)
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Re: The Heaphy Track- New Zealand Side trips

Postby benandlara » Sat 17 Dec, 2011 6:59 pm

The sidetrips are often the best parts of the highway which is a great walk. Some of the ones on the Heaphy are

1. Mt Perry
this is about 45 minutes above the Perry saddle hut. If you are lucky there is a route description in the hut. Otherewise head west from the hut on the Main track about five minutes towards Heaphy hut. There is a reasonable cairn on the track at the turnoff. You will see a short track running down and across the swampy valley base to dissappear north up into the trees and lead to the obvious south ridge coming down from the Mout Perry ridge. Climb through to the tree line and up the scree to the ridge top. There is a wireless repeater on the summit. Head west a few minutes for a different view. If the top isn't in Cloud you can see Saxon Hut to the west. On a good day they can see the north Island.

2.Fairy Forrest near Goulands hut. It is only a few hundred metres wide and the main track runs through it. Short deviations are
-a few minutes west off Goulands the track runs over a muddy razorback. The brook just below actually cuts a 15m tunnel through and under the track. Cross the "bridge" and drop down to the left. It is muddy but a least you don't hit your head when you walk through the tunnel. Climb up the otherside.
-just as the track leaves the forest on the way to saxon hut there is a reasonable track to the left. There is a view of sorts from it but instead head right and down to a the stream . A rough track runs to a small pool and upstream to an overhang and a bubbling waterfall coming out of the cave.

3.Caves near Heaphy hut.
-the most obvious is adjacent to the track fifteen minutes upstream from the hut. There is a small pool 1m below a small wooded bridge. The pool issues from a cave. take your shoes off and grab a torch. You need to crouch to get in but it intermittently opens up so you will be able to stand. It wanders 50m into the hillside before you really would get wet. Yes there are glow worms. No I wouldn't be inside if the river was rising.
-The next is harder to find. Five minutes further upstream on the main track is a reasonable sized brook and wooden bridge. Adjacent to the large tree on the lewis hut side of the bridge is a rough track heading obliquely inland. It is occasionally taped (sometimes incorrectly) but after about fifteen minutes comes across a small creek you eventually cross. A few more minutes of mud and hang a hard right straight up a muddy slope. This leads to Field's Cave. They take school groups down to it for adventure caving (hence a visible trail) but the DOC don't want it over run or to have to run rescues. It is an old undergroud river system so it i is not full of crystal....more mud. Ocascionally the roof has fallen in but much of it is pitchblack. They have left a taped trail in the early sections and a few arrows showing out at later intersections......... take a couple of torches and a friend as it extends >500m and there are loops in it.
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Re: The Heaphy Track- New Zealand September 2011

Postby Tofu_Imprint » Thu 29 Dec, 2011 7:07 pm

I was going to do the Mt Perry walk you mentioned (note was in hut), but the weather was extremely bad and I didn't fancy going off trail (semi off trail) at a time when noone else was around and visibility was very poor. If it was nice weather I would have, and perhaps if I'd had a walking partner I would have.

I did notice Field Cave on my map, but that was at a point where I was really looking forward to reaching the hut :)

Good tips though! Keen to head back in around 6 months time...
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Re: The Heaphy Track- New Zealand September 2011

Postby andy23 » Sat 17 Mar, 2012 10:08 pm

Hi,

I'm interested in the temperature of the huts overnight? Heading to the Heaphy track in a couple of months, and I have a really warm sleeping bag, not sure of the rating but keeps me warm in subzero temperatures (and I'm a cool sleeper), but in the interests of packing light and saving space, not sure if I need it? I'm investigating a lightweight compact bag, and not sure how warm I would need.
One of the huts is full on one of the nights I'm there, so I would imagine it'd be pretty warm, but do they get cool in the wee hours of the morning? And are the heaters turned off at night?

Thanks for any information!
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Re: The Heaphy Track- New Zealand September 2011

Postby benandlara » Sat 07 Apr, 2012 5:20 pm

It depends if you want to keep the fireplace/ fire going.
It is hard not to survive in a hut in a 3 season bag. If your teeth are not chattering sitting around at dinner as long as you wear enough of your dinner clothes (and a hat) to bed you will live.
The bag i took was rated 2 degrees and it was ok with just long underwear nov/dec.
If the huts are full you should be warm (especially if you are on an upper bunk).
Rain means it is less cold outside but also that people try to keep the fire going to dry clothes.
If you are worried taked a lighter bag and a heavier jumper (looks better than a sleeping bag at the breakfast table when you are often coldest)
Then again gear freaks often say if you don't wake up 10% of your nights and exercise to warm up you have over packed.

On the fields cave post it is unmarked on purpose for insurance reason partly.

The trail is well maintained and snake free. We did it a lot in TEVA's (& trail shoes) to save weight (and my knees)
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Re: The Heaphy Track- New Zealand September 2011

Postby wayno » Sat 07 Apr, 2012 7:00 pm

andy23 wrote:Hi,

I'm interested in the temperature of the huts overnight? Heading to the Heaphy track in a couple of months, and I have a really warm sleeping bag, not sure of the rating but keeps me warm in subzero temperatures (and I'm a cool sleeper), but in the interests of packing light and saving space, not sure if I need it? I'm investigating a lightweight compact bag, and not sure how warm I would need.
One of the huts is full on one of the nights I'm there, so I would imagine it'd be pretty warm, but do they get cool in the wee hours of the morning? And are the heaters turned off at night?

Thanks for any information!
Andy



heaters? there will be a fire that wlli go out when everyone goes to bed. it will be subzero overnight outside at that time of year inland. the temps below are taken at a lower altitude than most of the track is at.

http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/tracks-and-walks/nelson-tasman/golden-bay/heaphy-track/plan-and-prepare/weather/
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