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Heels 1974

Mad Dogs and Englishman

Mad Dogs and Englishman

Not many trips can boast of having 4 leaders, but the Nelson Lakes 'Fit' Trip is one that can. Originally it was to be John Sullivan to lead a masochistic trip along the St. Arnaud Range. His ankle defaulted in Wellington. So John Black became leader and actually got as far as St. Arnuad. John had to leave because of an ear infection. So enter (Uncle) Bill Foster as next leader and so it was to be for some time. So 6 reputedly M/Fits left St. Arnuad at about 10.00 a.m.. Lunch was had at Speargrass hut and then on up Speargrass creek to Angelus. Once in the snow, steps had to be kicked, hard work for Bill and Steve up front. Then a thoughtful Chamois gave us a'demo' on how to travel in deep powder snow with maximum speed. It didn't work. At Angelus TNTVP was served with apple for dessert in a very warm hut. Next morning (Monday) after breakfast of apple and something-or-other amongst piking noises we set off in light snowfall and gathering clag . After a few minutes a whiteout had set in and progress was debatable. We all took turns at kicking steps in a straight (?) line and we even tried marching to compass. After 3 hours we came upon a saddle which, when the clag cleared, afforded us a magnificient view of ....Angelus Hut i.e. we'd almost completed one helluva big circle! So back to the hut for pits and dehyde apple and something to eat.

In the morning after more apple and some pog we set off in perfect weather for Forks Hut via Cedric. The scenery was fantastic - click-click went Bill's shutter as he madly used up film at an astounding rate. Progress was good - we did what took us 2 hours the previous day in 15 minutes. A bush bash complete with aerobatics by Bill took us down Open Stream to the Sabine River. After lunch an uneventful afternoon (and evening) took us to West Sabine hut where we received a rousing welcome from the Mediums (things like "Bugger off", "No room", "Get lost")— thanks Rod and Co. So back to Forks hut for TVP and a bit of food. One can imagine the disappointment when Bill knocked over the billy of apple in the fire that night - a real friend (eh sweetie?)

In the morning after Sago and .....apple, we joined forces with the Mediums for an assault on Blue Lake which provided an enjoyably page 40easy day for all. Next day (Thursday) saw Bill with a sore knee but determined to give Moss Pass a good go. We set off but before long it was obvious Bill wouldn't be able to continue with his knee the way it was, so Bill turned back to spend the rest of the trip with Rod's rads (Mediums).

Enter leader Number 4 ...Ash Morton. We plugged on towards the pass until we discovered poles which led over a precipitous route so we crossed a big avalanche and decided to go straight up a steep sided [unclear: D] shaped "avo chute". Mushy snow provided difficulty and delay but we were at the top of the pass at about 11.15 a.m. After throwing packs down the other side and chasing them we continued down to D'Urville. The icy bush gave Mark a chance for his aerobatics (bumble bees aren't supposed to be able to fly anyway!) Lunch at D'Urville River and on to Morgans for TNTVP and dehyde apples.

Morning saw us leave at about 9.00 a.m., heading off down River to lunch at D'Urville hut. After getting a bit bogged down in places we got to Sabine Hut where we were attacked by millions of sandflies so without hanging around we left for Howard Hut, where we spent the night.

Next morning (Saturday) we were faced with the task or doing a 6 hour day by 3.30 p.m.......starting at 9.00 a.m. ! Leaving with 30 minutes in hand we made up lost time by coming down Speargrass at a great rate of ranometres per ranosecond.

We arrived at the bus with a noisy welcome for Uncle Bill at 3.15 p.m. Just enough time for milkshakes and all sorts of nice things then on to Picton and the Terminus Hotel where we swilled numerous ranopints of ale and ate oodles of peanuts.


Mad Dogs: Malcolm Gunn, Ashley Morton, Chris McArthur, Mark Rodgers, Steve Rawnsley.

Englishman (sahib): Bill Foster