Scamper Torrent Hut
Labour Weekend 20 – 23 October 2018
We walked up the Waitaha valley on Saturday afternoon in cloudy conditions with some drizzle. Despite my warnings, the team as severely shocked at the state of the official DOC track (not Permolat maintained as its under DOC control – I’m convinced it’s intended to put off inexperienced Ivory Lake hopefuls)
While it is a new track - built in 2012 - it follows a very poor line, muddy, many roots, steep ups and downs, and tangled supplejack...! So Kiwi Flat hut was very welcome and we soon had the fire roaring after 2 cold river crossings. (I’d suggested a short-cut to get the hut quickly and quickly found out it was not a popular suggestion.) A six bunk hut, we luckily secured 5 bunks and also had good company of a solo chatty Methven veterinarian. Liz can’t help but badger people to join the club...he may join!?!
Sunday dawned fine and clear so away we trudged. A single male blue duck was in residence at the confluence of Whirling Water and the Waitaha River. That was a treat!
The team was reluctant at the prospect of getting cold wet feet again so an obscure inland route was found by Calum (who it seems doesn’t like cold water), but it petered out...! Back at the river with only an hour lost in bush, we headed back down to find the track to Scamper Torrent, which heads up the Labyrinth River. Liz lopped bushes at the back with her trusty L78s; she is now addicted to track trimming.
It’s a long slow steep slog up to Scamper Torrent Hut -7 hours in total, but this did include an unnecessary extra hour taking an “interesting” route variation down to the hut from Pt 1125 – it’s not well taped. We rectified the poor route till all the cruise tape was gone!! While heading down steep bush, Dan lost all hope and wrote his final memoirs as Liz and Callum chose a line down that was nasty - very steep, and hairy, through leatherwood filled gullies. He lived so we didn’t need to need to pass his final words on to Lee.
A friendly hunter was in residence, but decided to move on when he saw our numbers (despite out assurances we had tents -it’s a 4 person hut). Liz had planned to sleep on the alcove above the door, but on smelling the mice opted to sleep in the luxury of a Minaret. It was a sunny afternoon without a breath of wind and later the moon came out for a gloriously windless night!
We had planned to explore Mt Durward on Monday, but time would not allow a full day so 4 of us sneaked off for a half day trip, and 3 of us conquered Pt 1397 in a couple of hours.
It was a clear sunny day and the views were amazing. We were also rewarded with 4 keas, who circled us with interest for several minutes before flying away.
On the way back, Liz grabbed a dip in the Scamper Torrent (shallow and not a torrent!), then we all lolled about bare armed and bare legged in the tussocks for a leisurely lunch before heading down the hill to Kiwi Flat hut again in much quicker time (5 hours). This time we had the hut to ourselves. It was such a warm evening we didn’t bother to light the fire.
Tuesday morning, we walked out the Waitaha in 5 hours (with all its ups and downs, it’s no faster than coming in). Again we were treated to viewing a pair of blue ducks swimming in Whirling Water as we left. On the way out Liz dealt with the supplejack. Then the long drive home was ameliorated somewhat by the luxury of Keith’s roomy vehicle.
We were: Dan Pryce, Calum McIntosh, Peter Umbers, Keith Hoard and Liz Stephenson (L) (LS)