Part 2 of my tramping holiday was no less amazing and enjoyable than the weekend with Gregor at Lake Sylvester.
The weather was incredible, day after day of sunshine and blue sky. Not a single drop of rain, and I completed my entire walk never getting my boots wet!
After Gregor dropped me off on Monday afternoon on his way back to Nelson, I went up to Asbestos Cottage. It hadn’t changed at all since I had first been there in 2002:
It’s quite a character hut, and was home to a couple for nearly 40 years at the beginning of the previous century. I spent the night there and it was nice to enjoy the comforts of a hut, in particular because I had it to myself.
The next day turned out to be a much bigger day than I had planned. It all started off as anticipated, but things then took a different turn at Lake Peel:
I had wanted to camp there and had actually found a very nice spot. It was a fight to throw up the tent though as it was quite windy. I should have heeded this early warning because after having watched my tent being flattened a number of times by particularly strong gusts, I had to declare defeat and take it down again. No way I could have slept there with the tent in my face every few minutes.
So I didn’t have much choice but to carry on to Balloon Hut where I found a nice sheltered spot in the trees by the hut. Even though it made for a very long day, it was a very nice walk across open tussock in the gentle late afternoon sun:
On the following day, the hut and tablelands were in thick mist. When it finally started to burn off by mid morning, I left for my next accommodation at Dry Rock:
I absolutely loved staying in this big rock bivvie, all by myself with just the resident weka for company. From the comfort of my sleeping bag on the platform, I had a view of rolling tussock and later the star-studded sky.
The following day, I woke up to another perfect day. Which again turned out bigger than I had planned.
My way first took me over tussock with a single picturesque tarn on the way:
Then up Gordon’s pyramid from which excellent views were to be had:
Then up to Mount Arthur with even better views. 360 degrees of steep mountains, golden tablelands, dark green forests, and the endless blue sky above it all:
I really liked the forest on the way down to Mount Arthur hut with quite a few pineapple trees:
At the hut, I made the quick decision not to stay and carry on down the hill to Flora. It had been a hot day and I just really wanted to have my usual pot shower in the evening, which was impossible at Mount Arthur Hut as there was no stream or tarn anywhere near it.
Another big day, and a real high point of my walk.
As I had arrived at Flora a day or so earlier than I had expected, I found myself with time on my hands to actually not do much at all. Which is kind of boring, so after lunch the following day, I set off to Gridiron rock shelter further down the Flora valley:
It was another night in a place that others have described as pure magic. This time, I had 3 Minnesotans for company. And down on the valley floor, a family group of 5 had made the forest their bed for the night.
It was at Gridiron that the resident weka actually stole my brand new toilet roll. I didn’t actually see it. Just when I came back from my pot shower in the stream, by stuff on my bunk had clearly been ruffled through, and the toiled roll was missing. I later found a few small remaining scraps in the forest. No idea what a weka would do with a whole toilet roll…
I went back to Flora on the next morning to have breakfast in the sun. And then I spent the rest of the day working for the business. Here’s my office:
As I had worked hard and completed what I had wanted to get done, I rewarded myself with a walk up Lodestone on the following morning which also was my last full day in the hills. It was yet another fine day with stunning views of mountains, hills and the Tasman Bay.
This is Mount Arthur:
The following day, I took a shuttle back to Nelson and jumped on the plane back to Wellington in the evening.
So that was my summer tramping holiday. It was awesome!
I just wish I could do this more often not just once a year. It’s the hills where I really can roam freely. No cell phone towers, no wifi, no worries.
Life as it should be!