1864 – 1878 Rintoul Hut

That was a seriously amazing day. Currently I am at Rintoul Hut with a small herd of goats, but I started out at Slaty Hut at 7:00am walking along the ridge line on the Richmond Alpine crossing.

(I do believe I have broken my record for the most photos taken in one day as well.)

Why was today wonderful? Well, let me see…

  • The weather was great.
  • The views were magnificent.
  • I survived.

In order of appearance.

The weather today has been blue skies and no wind in the morning building to blue skies with some puffy clouds and gentle wind this afternoon.

In other words, perfect walking weather.

The views were of the Pelorus Valley when we started, with the Richmond Ranges on the other side of the ridge. But as we travelled we got views of the Wairoa Valley, Nelson Valley, the Red Hills, and always as a background the Southern Alps and whatever mountain range lies to the south-east of Blenheim.

As for survival that might be a bit of a heavy word. All I really had to deal with was one small traverse over a 100m drop, lots of broken rock ascents and descents, a lot bit of scree and that was it. More constantly nerve-racking than survival.  I’ll try and find a good photo. 🙂

Hindsight

  • Hiking poles are recommended.
  • Look down at your feet and keep on walking and you will get to the top quicker.
  • I quite like those little black alpine butterfly’s.
  • On the way down Rintoul (down the scree chute) Adele lost her footing and then her way when she missed the track. Be careful.

Rintoul Hut Map


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1850 – 1864 Slaty Hut

We began our day by walking to Hacket Hut which was only an hour off and then up Hacket Creek to what was supposed to be Pyramid Rock on our way to Slaty Hut.

I have no idea whether it is (a pyramid) or not as I never found it. One gps check I was halfway to Pyramid Rock and the next one I was halfway past it on the way to Starveall Hut.

Silvin was suffering from some sort of gastric complaint which looked painful. Didn’t stop him though.

Starveall Hut lies just at the top of the treeline on Mt Starveall and was a good little six bunk hut. If I have my directions right, the view from there was across Nelson to the hills before Takaka.

Speaking of views, it was hard to walk with any speed due to them. At the top of Mt Starveall we could look ahead along the Richmond Ranges, left down a long forested valley that possibly meets the Pelorus Valley, or backwards towards Nelson and Motueka.

From there it was only a 1.5hr walk to our ‘hut du jour’ Slaty Hut.

It’s a great hut but there were some design problems. The chimney is too short and on the side of the roof that the water is collected off. This means all your water tastes somewhat like Laphroaig. Added to this the tap on the tank was broken so getting water was a slight mission.

Hindsight

  • Some people can walk through pain (I can’t, Silvin can).
  • Don’t burn rubbish in the hut fire places.
  • Starveall Hut is very nice, if small.

Slaty Hut Map


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1835 – 1850 Browning Hut

The 700m climb was easier than expected and we arrived at Rocks Hut at around 10:30am for a cup of tea and then off toward Browning Hut.

Giant boulders are littered in the forest which was rather nice. But the biggest surprise of all was the utter destruction along the ridgeline. Massive trees have simply been pushed over. Hundreds of them. The track winds it’s way through chainsawed trunks and debris.  It must have been an incredible wind.

Later on it began to rain which didn’t fill use with hope. Lunch was had hunched under a fallen tree with water running around our feet.

Having arrived at Browning  Hut the sun has decided to come out so I think the rest of the day will be spent drying things. Did I mention it was raining?

When we arrived at the hut people were there but they were going to continue onto Hacket Hut so we thought we might have lucked out and had the place to ourselves. As per usual though, some hunters from Christchurch turned up just before dark, lit a fire and talked into the night.

Hindsight

  • Rocks Hut has proper toilets!
  • I was glad we didn’t continue to Hacket Hut. It was a while on (It looks close on the map) and full of people.
  • I sleep outside as I snore. This usually gives you peace from hut life as well.

Browning Hut Map


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