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Dun Mountain – Sunday 6 October 2018

A bunch of eight trampers departed from the Maitai Dam carpark on a fine spring day. We set a steady pace along the well-used Dun Mountain Trail up the South Branch Maitai Valley towards Dun Saddle. The track left the pleasant forested banks of the river and climbed up the completely different terrain of the harsh mineral belt. Underfoot conditions were often more stony, dominated by rich red-brown coloured rocks. This section that has been reconstructed for the bikers, makes for a good gradient and smoother surface, easier than the older track. Higher up at a track junction we turned left from the Dun Mountain Trail onto the track up to Dun Saddle. The word ‘track’ was a misnomer as our route seemed more like a dry riverbed to start with. But things improved further along and we soon arrived at Dun Saddle. This was our original planned destination, but because of the excellent calm sunny weather, a suggestion was made to carry on up to Dun Mountain.

Six of us set off steeply at first then we soon reached the easy summit ridgeline. Not far along we came upon the Dun Shelter, freshly painted, but only with seating and a table. Here we paused for our lunch before continuing ten more minutes to the summit at 1129m. This had taken four hours altogether and a climb of 1000m.

We took in the all-encompassing views, consisting of Tasman Bay in the west and around to the many peaks of the Richmond Range in the east. The strange rock outcrops – so unusually coloured – make this a unique tramp in the Nelson area. We returned the same way, reuniting with the two waiting trampers at Dun Saddle. We all made good time back to the start for a return trip of eight hours.

The bunch was Robert, Joy, Marian, Lesley G, Lesley J, Anna, Robyn and Christine.