Sunday, 12 June 2016

Catching up

January passed uneventfully apart from more rain than we were used to; 5 mm of rain for January 2015 provided some contrast to January 2016 when 303 mm fell. We didn't complain, and neither did the cattle who, for a change, remained hock-deep in grass for the summer.

 In February, our youngest daughter convinced us to take a "stroll " on Mt Arthur, in the Kahurangi National Park. We have been ignorant of the fact that such spectacular scenery could be enjoyed so close to our back door - only 20 minutes' drive to the carpark at 2,900 feet ASL. [Note: I'm using feet for altitude as a: that's what I'm accustomed to, b: it is the standard for aviation and c: it's my blog.]  Five minutes from the car we spotted the cheeky (and destructive to cars - they pull the rubber seals out, and the wipers off) mountain parrot, the kea.

 About 600 metres from the car the track forked, one branch heading up the mountain to Mt Arthur Hut, and the other down to Flora Hut. My daughter and my wife looked at the upward slope of the 2-metre wide track heading to Mt Arthur Hut, then they looked at the vehicle track heading down to Flora Hut, then they looked my svelte, slim (ahem) silhouette and decided that the Flora Hut option was  the way to go if we wanted to avoid the use of MediVac helicopters.

 However, after an easy wander to Flora they decided that I was coping better than expected and we headed straight up the mountain and emerged from the bush at about 4,200 feet.

 The track then led along a ridgeline for about a kilometre, and which undulated up and down by about 500 feet as we headed south toward Mt Arthur.

 We eventually  came to a branch in the trail and we could choose to climb about another 150 feet to  a knoll with stunning views or sidle around to Mt Arthur Hut a hundred metres or so away.

We opted for the view and some well-earned lunch. Nelson is at shoulder-height behind the blue pole. We decided not to continue another 3.4 kilometres and another 1,300 feet in altitude to the summit. We were quite happy to admire the view from 4,400 feet.

A final shot as we descended back to the car, and an hour later we were enjoying a cup of tea at home. The perfect end to an invigorating and thoroughly enjoyable 10 kilometre hike. No fathers were harmed in the making of this post!

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