First Post-Lockdown Tramp
Flora / Lodestone / Arthur Hut Circuit - Sunday 7 June 2020
On top of Mt Lodestone
All covered with snow,
The team from Waimea
A-hiking did go.
While the land below us basked in early winter sunshine, it was a tad brisker and whiter up in the hills. This was our first tramp in almost two months because of the Covid 19 lockdown, and 11 of us enthusiastically fronted up for a good leg stretch. We had delayed from Saturday to Sunday to get a kinder forecast, and we were expecting light breezes, sunshine and occasional cloud.
There’s no gentle lead-in for Mt Lodestone. You immediately start climbing steeply from Flora Carpark, and stay climbing the whole way to the summit. Green forest morphed into forest sprayed in white snow, followed by rock sprayed in white, tussock sprayed in white, and when it started sleeting, trampers sprayed in white. It was beautiful.
The short-lived sleet cleared in time for a welcome morning tea stop at the summit, with only a relatively mild breeze, and wafting clouds giving us tantalising glimpses of the views below. Then it was down-down-down to Flora Hut; snowy ground at first, then a romp through the trees, to arrive there bang on lunch time. The resident weka families were out in scavenging force, so we had to keep a firm hold on our sandwiches. The sun even made a guest appearance, bathing the old hut in a golden glow. So the forecast was right! - just not in the proportions we wanted.
We then headed upwards directly behind the hut, through forest again and then up in to open tussock. Unlike Lodestone, there were no signs of snow in the afternoon section of our walk, just a brisk breeze and the insides of drifting clouds. Not enough to get us very wet, but yet again, just enough to obscure the views.
Just when it was starting to get to the ‘are we there yet’ stage, we reached the icicle-laden sign posts giving us a choice of Right to the summit of Mt Arthur 2.5 hours away, or 2 minutes Left to the hut. No hesitation - we scurried down to Mt Arthur Hut to drain the remains of our thermoses and scoff the last of our muesli bars. We then descended down the easy wheelchair-standard track back to Flora Carpark.
Including our breaks we were out and about for 6.25 hours. Everyone had good wind- and water- proof gear, the wind was not too savage, and we moved at much the same pace. Therefore it was invigorating conditions, rather than cold - but definitely not as kind as the forecast!
The post-lockdown crew were: Diane (Leader), Pete, Esther, Eric, Marian, Chris, Grant, Ian, Christine, Karen and Ross.