Edwards-Hawdon Circuit - Arthur's Pass
24-26 April 2022
Arthur's Pass turned on the bluebird weather for our extended late-autumn tramping trip - seven days of sunshine! We completed two 'away' tramps, plus day walks on the day we arrived and on our in-between 'rest day' (these included Temple Basin, Devil's Punchbowl Falls, Bealey Track etc).
Our base for the week was the Christchurch Tramping Club hut in Arthurs Pass Village - thank you CTC, we really appreciated it.
The first of our bigger walks was the three-day Edwards-Hawdon Circuit.
Day One. After depositing a car at the exit point of the tramp at Hawdon Shelter we retraced back to the Greyneys Shelter on SH73, and immediately had wet feet fording the Bealey River. From here we crossed the river flats, picked up the Edwards River, and steadily worked our way upstream to the Edwards Hut (16 bunks) our home for the night. Along the way we had numerous river crossings and a detour high into the bush to avoid the Edwards River Canyon.
Day Two. We were up early and out the hut door by 8am. The next couple of hours were spent steadily following the tussocked river flats up the valley to Taruahuna Pass. The marker poles indicate to criss-cross the river multiple times, but it would have been easier and quicker to stay on the true left for most of the way. A highlight was two whio who sailed past, eye-balled us, then swam back to obligingly pose on a rock.
Taruahuna Pass is a huge pile of rubble, the result of a massive landslide from (the very impressive) Falling Mountain in 1929. We slowly clambered over the debris to the saddle at the foot of Tarn Col. The marked way up the cliff face looked steep. Very steep! But onwards and upwards, as they say, and we clambered up on the right side of the creek, aided by hauling ourselves on the snowgrass. We were up! and what a truly spectacular view. Wow!
After lunch in the sun at the tarn of said Tarn Col, we travelled down the streambed draining the tarn. It was longer, slower and slipperier than we’d expected, with few route markings and some impressive bluffs on the true left. We finally reached the bottom of the stream, took a sharp right hand turn onto the Otehake River, had a short burst through some scrub, and then we were at the hanging valley of the beautiful Walker Pass.
From the tarn at Walker Pass we again followed its outlet stream, on a proper track this time though, down through boulders, scrub and then beech forest to the welcome sight of Hawdon Hut (20 bunks). It was now 4pm and we’d taken 8 hours since leaving Edwards Hut.
Day Three. An easy flat day, but yet again with continual wet feet from river and stream crossings. We followed the Hawdon River, crossed big grassy flats, walked through beech forest, and emerged at our waiting car at Hawdon Shelter in quick-smart time.
DOC describes the walk as ‘experience the best of Arthur’s Pass National Park’s stunning alpine landscapes’. A very fitting description indeed!
We were: Diane (leader and scribe), Pete, Esther and Eric.