Dun Mountain Circuit, Bryant Range20230211 Dun Mountain

Saturday 11 February 2023

Five of us set off from the Maitai Dam car park at 8am. Crossing the footbridge we made our way up the south branch of the river and through the magnificent native bush before starting to climb up and out into the open.

By 10.30 we reached the track junction of Coppermine and Dun Saddle, surprised to have only met one descending mountain biker.
After giving some directions to a couple of trampers confused by the track signs we took the left fork in the track up the rough rocky creek bed/track. Just below the saddle we ran into a WTC member returning after a night at Rocks Hut .

We arrived at the saddle about 11am along with the sun and not a breath of wind, to enjoy a break with sweeping views of the Richmond Ranges. (I had walked to the saddle two times previously in calm conditions only to be greeted there by strong freezing cold winds).  A further 30min steepish scramble up the rocky track and we arrived on the relatively flat summit ridge with its amazing dun-coloured rock outcrops.

We had a passing squiz into the basic little shelter before carrying on to the summit (1129 m) to  take in the expansive views of Tasman Bay and the peaks of the Western and Richmond Ranges. The waters of  Pelorous sound were clearly visible to the N.East.

Over lunch amongst the rock outcrops we agreed to complete the circuit over Little Twin, in preference to returning the same way.  New country for three of us. We had made it to the top in good time by 12pm and the weather was calm and warm.

The track dropped down off Dun Mountain heading towards Little Twin, then climbed steeply back up another 150m to the summit  (no views). Having already climbed 1000m the extra climb was starting to lose its shine a bit.  Arif arrived at the top feeling the pinch and asked me if he looked pale. Trying hard to be an encouraging leader, I blurted, "No Arif, you look beautiful".  He erupted into laughter (as did the rest of us), forgot about feeling faint and after a sit down, a drink and a glucose resus in the form of jet planes, was soon ready for the knee-bracing descent down towards Dew Lakes.

It was a brief stop here as we had to get back to the car before the gate closed at 5pm.  As we approached the Dew Lakes bathed in the afternoon summer sun we  heard the "plop plop" of little frogs entering the water disturbed from sunning themselves on the mossy banks. The water was teaming with tadpoles and dragonflies.

We stopped for a few minutes at the argillite quarry, then on down, arriving back at the car just after 4.30pm.

A great day out in the hills with fun company and so close to Nelson. It was a 23km loop with a 1000m climb and some! through a variety of  landscapes

Things of interest: Unique geology, fauna and flora combined with significant  Maori and European history. Lizards at lunch. Native Powelliphanta snail shells (empty) in the bush over Little Twin. Beautiful birdsong: Korimako (Bellbird) and Miromiro (Tomtit). Bright red flowers of a late flowering Rata. A scattering of other runners and walkers.

The team: Jeanne (Leader and Scribe) Di, Arif, Tessa and visitor Kylie.