Mt Lodestone/Mt Arthur Hut Circuit - Kahurangi National Park2022 10 16 Lodestone

Sunday 16 October 2022

With the ongoing road closure of the Maitai Valley Road and roadworks on the Whangamoas following the Big Rains in August, the scheduled weekend crossover trip in the Richmond Ranges unfortunately had to be postponed. 
Instead we plumped for a replacement day trip on the Sunday from Flora Saddle. But, at the eleventh hour we discovered that a detour was required because of SH60 roadworks, AND more importantly, the access road to the Graham Valley would be closed for a car rally from 8am to noon. Thus we ended up having a ‘rather early’ departure from Richmond.
Our plan for the day was for the eight of us to do a Figure-Of-Eight. 
From Flora Saddle carpark we immediately hung a left up the Lodestone Track. We climbed steadily through the forest until we reached the panoramic ‘photo platform’ at the bushline. From there it was only a small hike to the radio mast at the summit (1462m) where we enjoyed a leisurely morning tea in perfect weather, looking down on our next destination, Flora Hut, far below.
We then headed down the other side of Lodestone, first in the open, then through more beech and dracophyllum forest and across the small stream at the bottom, before arriving at Flora Hut right on lunchtime. We sat on the slope above the hut and admired the view of Lodestone as we enjoyed another break.
Lunch consumed, we continued up the slope on the track above Flora Hut, again through forest at first, before popping up above the bushline for the last stretch across to the junction with the Mt Arthur Track. From this open section we had great views of Gordon's Pyramid, Horseshoe Basin and the summit of Mt Arthur.
From the intersection, half of us headed a short ways up the track to the big cairn and yet more expansive views, while the direct route down to Mt Arthur Hut beckoned the others. After a leisurely afternoon tea outside the hut, we headed down the main track back to Flora Saddle carpark.
Our rough Figure-Of-Eight took us seven hours. Incredibly we met only two other people all day - the usual weekend crowds were obviously caught out by the early morning closure of the access road. The weather was perfect, sunny with no wind, and everyone was pleased with the last minute rescheduling to the programme.
We were: Diane (Leader and Scribe), Ed, Donell, Sue, Tony and David W, with visitors Kristin and Ruth.