A NZ Ramble.

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Re: A NZ Ramble.

Postby kanangra » Mon 27 Oct, 2014 10:27 am

It was about 11:00AM before we were ready to go again. we still had a long way to go if we were going to make it to upper Caples Hut our destination for the night. In hindsight we probably should have just walked back around via the Mc Kellar Saddle but we had been that way and wanted to check out the route up Steele Ck. So we set off on the long trek down the Greenstone Valley.

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Mc Kellar Hut


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Bridge over the infant Greenstone.


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The broad Greenstone Valley


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Greenstone Valley


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Greenstone River.


TBC

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Re: A NZ Ramble.

Postby kanangra » Mon 27 Oct, 2014 12:08 pm

It took a solid 3 hours to get down to the Steele Ck junction. There the sign said to allow 10 hours for the trip over to Upper Caples. It was 2:00PM? We decided to go for it. the track climbs to begin with and then drops to a small flat on Steele Ck.

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Steele Ck.


The track heads almost due north straight up the valley. After an hour or so Steele Ck Hut is reached.

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Steele Ck Hut.


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Steele Ck Hut


Above the hut the valley broadens and travel is quite quick for an hour or so.

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The U shaped pass we would take is visible at the head of the valley.


As we ascended the weather closed in again. By the time we crested the pass it was quite late, about 7:30.

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View of the Steele Ck valley from the pass looking back over the country we had traversed.


By 8:30 we were at the bushline on the Caples side. Here we donned our headlamps for the descent through the bush. It was not an easy task to follow the track down in the dark. There were orange triangles on the trees but they were easy to lose. I found the best indicator of when I had walked off track was when the ground felt soft under foot. Several times we stopped and scouted around with our headlamps until we re-located the track. It was after 10 before we hit the new wide Caples track and from here it was only a few minutes to the hut. It was locked up so we spread out on the verandah and made a late supper before hitting the sack.

It had been a long day, starting at 6:30 with the only lengthy stop being at Mc Kellar Hut for breakfast. I think next time I would plan on spending the night at Steele Ck Hut.

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Re: A NZ Ramble.

Postby wayno » Mon 27 Oct, 2014 1:08 pm

good stuff, i wondered what steele creek was like, i've gone past it before, laughed nervously and kept walking.
Upper caples hut has been permanently closed now. theres a new bigger hut at mid caples.. the upper caples hut is in a flood prone area and they turned the groel over mcKellar saddle into a highway so they figured it would be Ok to shut the hut and focus accommodation on the mid caples hotel...
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Re: A NZ Ramble.

Postby kanangra » Mon 27 Oct, 2014 1:17 pm

Mmmmmmmm I don't know. I really like the location of the Upper Caples Hut. It is very well positioned for parties taking on the trip over from Steele Ck or down from Kay Ck. I also like the grassy flat it sits on. It is a very sturdy hut that has stood the test of time. I hope they don't remove it?

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Re: A NZ Ramble.

Postby wayno » Mon 27 Oct, 2014 1:20 pm

they may very well do just that, i stepped out of upper caples hut to the loo at night and ran smack bang into a deer.
hang on, you can still book the hut, but its a deerstalkers run hut now..

http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recrea ... aples-hut/

http://southernlakesnzda.org.nz/huts/
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Re: A NZ Ramble.

Postby kanangra » Mon 27 Oct, 2014 2:05 pm

I would prefer if it was public but at least this way it is not removed. I also note that the old Mid Greenstone Hut is also one of theirs. I stayed there years ago. Great views up valley from its position on the edge of the bush. Now I know these can be booked it opens up some good options in this area.

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Re: A NZ Ramble.

Postby forest » Mon 27 Oct, 2014 2:16 pm

You know I had completely forgotten you didn't finish the report when you wrote it.

But glad you are finishing it. Great country up in there. Cannot wait to get back (But wait I will have to ATM)
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: A NZ Ramble.

Postby kanangra » Mon 27 Oct, 2014 3:29 pm

Yes only the fourth and last day to go now.

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Re: A NZ Ramble.

Postby kanangra » Mon 27 Oct, 2014 3:49 pm

With our plane due to leave from Queenstown about 4:00PM we still had a fair bit of ground to cover if we were going to make it out. So we were away well before dawn. It is slow going in the dark but we manage to find the swing bridge across the Caples in the moonlight before plunging once again into the blackness of the forest. Once again we managed to lose the track several times but were always able to relocate it after scratching around. The breaking dawn found us making our way up the valley of Kay Ck.

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Kay Ck looking back in the direction of the pass we had crossed the night before from Steele Ck into the Caples.


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Kay Ck.


After several hours we came to the forks and Kay Ck Hut.

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Kay Ck Hut.


It is an old musterers hut and fairly basic.

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Kay Ck.


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Kay Ck Hut from above.


Above the hut you enter the subalpine zone with all that entails; spikey shrubs, rocks and tussock. There are no markers above here but the route is clear enough; steeply up valley.

TBC

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Re: A NZ Ramble.

Postby kanangra » Wed 29 Oct, 2014 9:16 am

At the head of the valley Kay Ck plummets over a waterfall. We clambered up and around on the left hand side.

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Falls at the head of Kay Ck.


Once up there were good views back down the way we had come.

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Kay Ck valley.


The climbing continued though until across the pass into Scott Ck on the Wakatipu side.

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View looking down Scott Ck from near the head.


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Scott Basin, a shelf high up in the valley.


The descent of Scott Ck was steep. We were careful to locate the markers before plunging into the bush. Here the going was rugged with a lot of windfall before we finally burst out onto the open with views out over the Dart River. But soon we disappeared into thick scrub before emerging onto the cleared paddocks from where it was a short walk to the road. It was 2:30 PM. Not a moment to spare. We raced back to Q'town just in time to catch our flight home.

It was a great trip even if a little rushed. Probably could have done with an extra day. As the start and finishing points are only 6km apart it is almost a loop walk.

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Re: A NZ Ramble.

Postby Walk_fat boy_walk » Wed 29 Oct, 2014 12:21 pm

Awesome report. Love that part of the world.
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Re: A NZ Ramble.

Postby cajun » Wed 29 Oct, 2014 12:25 pm

I'll second that. Awesome!

Thanks for going to the effort to post such a great report.
And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended,
And at night the wondrous glory of the everlasting stars.
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Re: A NZ Ramble.

Postby icefest » Wed 29 Oct, 2014 12:31 pm

Thanks, I especially enjoyed following it on the map!
Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful.
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Re: A NZ Ramble.

Postby kanangra » Wed 29 Oct, 2014 2:30 pm

Thanks guys. It did turn out to be something of an epic. But then we were running to a very tight schedule. It was a good mix of going from great walk standard on the Routeburn Track to off track walking on the Livingstone Range and up Kay Ck. and over into the Scott Basin. It is a good circuit that I would recommend. If you were doing the Caples/Greenstone you could just throw in the Steele Ck section. Or even an in and out visit to Steele Ck. Hut?

I'm heading over again tomorrow. This time we're flying into Christchurch then over to Hokatika. We aim to do the 3 passes trip from west to east. I see they have some stormy weather over there today and more is forecast so once again conditions may not be all that favourable. As before we just have the 4 days. We are being picked up at Arthurs Pass at 11:30 on Monday.

I'll let you know how it goes.

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