2178 – 2194 West Harper Hut

For those of you who are taking note of the distances, you may have noticed the 28km leap from Morrisons Footbridge. This is due to the weather as per usual.

After going to the Otira Hotel the weather was still bad so we hitched to Arthur’s Pass to get our food box and stayed there for two days.

Today we had a plan to do the track in reverse. This would have been easier if the weather was going to improve but upon looking up the valley we turned our backs on it and walked on.

There was also a communication error. I’m not sure why I didn’t spend more time on it. I realised it was slightly flaky over the next hour or so. What it meant was Angelynn, who was going to meet up with us, was waiting at a different point to us. IIt was only due to the efforts of a roadworks guy that we crossed paths at all. Thank you roadworks guy.

The walk up to Lagoon Saddle was fairly spectacular with views over the Waimakariri Valley and all the way up to Arthur’s Pass. The mountains with fresh snow on them from the recent weather. At one point I just sat for twenty minutes and gazed.

After crossing the saddle Silvan and I carried on down the Harper River to West Harper Hut to set up camp while Angelynn climbed Mt Bruce.

We do have a slight problem with being to early now for our bookings at Lake Coleridge so we may have to take up exploring sidetracks in order to slow down.

Hindsight

  • When planning to meet have a backup place.
  • Make sure the backup is out of the rain.
  • Lagoon Saddle Hut is way nicer than West Harper Hut.

West Harper Hut


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2128 – 2150 Morrisons Footbridge

There were 10 people on Locke Hut last night so I slept outside by the Taramakau River. It was a great nights sleepĀ before heading to Morrisons Footbridge.

The first crossing of the Taramakau was impassable. We had to our way down gravel bars for a couple of hundred meters until we were able to cross.

After that it was pretty much the same the whole way down. There isn’t actually a path after the floods. It is possible there wasn’t really one before them. Either way it consisted of lots of walking over riverbed, in the river, across side rivers, and bush bashing round until a way was found.

It took considerably longer to reach the Otira River than we had expected and we had come up with a plan to go to the Otira Hotel for a ‘weather update’. It should be pointed out that this was Silvan idea and it was a good one.

For starters, the Otira Hotel has become a wonderland of antique items and knick knacks and feels a quite a lot like stepping back in time. In fact, occasionally you wonder whether you have entered some alternate dimension.

The second reason it was a great idea was that the weather went downhill again with 110mm of rain forecast overnight destroying any chance of us being able to do the next section up the Deception River the next day.

Hindsight

  • Turns out theĀ Taramakau River isn’t actually a designated track. It is always like that.
  • This is the closest Te Araroa comes to the West coast.
  • If the Otira River is down, cross it. The walk along the side was painful and treacherous.
  • Otira Pub is worth visiting.

Morrisons Footbridge Map


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