Entertaining thunderstorms2017 12 16 1 group at mole tops

Mole Tops – 16-17 December 2017

Six trampers made an early 7.30am start from Richmond and headed south towards Murchison. About 30 minutes after turning left onto the Mangles Valley Road and then right onto the Tutaki Road we reached the start of the track. This is opposite Mataki Lodge which belongs to Nelson College (available on Book-a-Bach).

It was a warm sunny day and we headed up the Jameson Ridge Track, a much shadier option than the track up Mole Stream. This track is not well formed at first, but improves once it reaches a clear ridgeline.  We were all pleased to have a good supply of water as we sweated our way up to the bushline. From the bushline we could see the Mole Hut across the gully. With three other cars at the carpark, we assumed (wrongly) that the hut would be full but there were too many of us for the hut anyway. We headed across the open tussock to Mole Saddle looking for a campsite but most of the ground was rather bumpy or if flat then very wet. From the saddle we headed towards the hut but retained our height and headed for the nearest beech trees hoping for a campsite. We soon found campsites under the trees which just needed a bit of clearing and a little flattening. With our tents all pitched we took day packs and headed up the ridge towards Mole Tops (1651m).

We enjoyed great views to the north over Kahurangi and Tasman Bay and a glimpse of Lake Rotoroa as we climbed to the ridge. From the ridge we could see the tarns this area is well known for and with gathering thunder clouds threatening we headed back to camp. Back at camp, an evening thunder storm and a few drops of rain were more entertaining than threatening.

Sunday morning was overcast, but pleasant, and we headed down Mole Stream, eventually reaching a 4WD track which entered the forest and took us to the paddocks and back to the cars. To finish the trip off we headed to Lake Rotoroa on the Braeburn Track, which was well worth travelling for those who haven’t been on it before.

This very pleasant trip was enjoyed by Maria, Rob, Colin, Joy, Jo and Chris (scribe).