The pleasure and the pain – 9-10 April 2016
Five hardy trampers enjoyed a weekend trip to John Reid Hut on the Arthur Range in Kahurangi National Park. We parked the vehicle beside the Wangapeka Road a few kilometres past the Dart Ford. We put on old shoes and crossed the Wangapeka River at about knee or thigh height then strapped on our dry boots and left the wet shoes for our return. We climbed steeply up Chummies Track for the first half hour then zigzagged to reach a leading ridge after one hour. Then we continued climbing a steady ridgeline including some steep parts and a deviation around a steep high point. We were delighted with the display of autumn fungi with numerous stunning sky-blue umbrella shaped toadstools on the trackside. The colour blue is rare in nature and this fungi Entoloma hochstetterri is that special it is shown on the back corner of the NZ $50 banknote. At the top of the climb we then sidled for 40 minutes across steep slopes on a narrow rough track through tussock and flax to eventually reach the six-bunk hut taking five hours altogether. The hut is splendidly sited just above the bushline with grand panoramic views across the Wangapeka Valley to Mt Owen and beyond.
After a cuppa we headed up to the crest of the Arthur Range, 20 minutes up through long tussock, then along the range a short distance to a high point to soak up the views west towards the rugged peaks of the Kahurangi interior. John Reid Hut is one of the few huts that have an open fireplace and we made good use of it on a cool night but finding much good firewood was hard. The next morning we left the hut and were on the track before the sun had even risen over the nearby ridge. Chummies Track was bellbird central and surely should be on the shortlist of “See More Bellbirds”. But this pleasure was tempered by the pain of a wasp sting to each of the two tail-enders. We were back down to the car by lunchtime so we still had time for an easy short bushwalk at Jeff’s place at Sherry River. Another good weekend trip was enjoyed by Robert Wopereis, Maria Brooks, Rob Merrilees, Arif Matthee and Joy Bryant.