Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Huts 03 - Waimak Falls

Waimak Falls hut sits at the head of the Waimakariri River, about three hours walk above Carrington hut. It is just above the Waimak Falls themselves, accessible after a steep grunt up from the river just below the falls. Many people are unaware that there is a waterfall on the Waimakariri River. They are hidden from view, but well worth the scramble up the riverbed for ten minutes from where the track climbs steeply up and away from the riverbed before the hut.

Waimak Falls hut with Waimak Col on the Main Divide in the background.
Waimak Falls hut would arguably have one of the more commanding views in the mountains of NZ. The views up towards Mt Rolleston, Mt Armstrong and Waimakariri Col are awesome - and the views down valley to Mt Carrington and away to Mt Murchison at the head of the White River (the highest peak in Arthur's Pass National Park) are equally spectacular.
The hut is a six bunker and has a chequered history. It was first built by the Canterbury mountaineering Club and then passed over to the Dept of Conservation (from memory in the late 1970s). More recently the CMC regained ownership of the hut and a dedicated team of CMC hut volunteers now look after it along with all the other CMC huts.
My very first rescue as a member of mountain search and rescue in the 1960s was up to this hut when a tramper burned his face and hands after his cooking stove exploded and set alight to the tent he was in, pitched close to the hut.
Finally, one of the best photographs I've ever seen of Waimak Falls hut is in the book 'Our Mountains - Journeys to New Zealand's High Places' by Paul Hersey and Mark Watson. See page 95. It is well worth looking at and will give you an inkling of just how well situated this hut really is.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

What a Difference a Day Makes!

My lovely sister is currently crewing on a yacht sailing from Waikawa near Picton down to Stewart Island, then back up to D'urville Island and eventually back to Waikawa - just two of them in a 30' boat. Not bad for a young girl of 76!
Last weekend they were in Akaroa to resupply and wait for some good weather. Sunday morning was relatively free for me so I set off for Akaroa at sparrowfart.
For me, no trip to Akaroa - or anywhere on the peninsula for that matter - is complete without a quick side trip to Birdlings Flat. There are as many moods to that beach as there are days in the year - and more! Early Sunday morning I had the beach to myself. Absolute tranquility in more ways than one.
I don't recall ever seeing the sea so flat and waveless.

Birdling's Flat on Sunday
Compare this to a day a few years ago at the end of a good Southerly blast. This image was posted here back in June 2014 in a post about Kaitoreti Spit, but thought it was worth airing again for comparison.

Birdling's Flat a few years ago after a Southerly Storm
Oh and here is my lovely sister heading back out to the yacht on Sunday morning.