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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 13, Issue 9 (December 1, 1938)

Hardships of Exploration

page 32

Hardships of Exploration.

Exploration in the lesser known and seldom frequented parts of the mountain valleys assuredly has its joys and compensations.

Deserting the beaten track for glaciers and passes the traveller must carry his house upon his back. These packs, often sixty to seventy pounds in weight, have to be swagged for days over boulder-strewn river bed, over bluffs, and through bush to some sheltered camp-site or alpine hut.

We cannot in New Zealand sleep at the foot of the Main Divide in a luxurious hotel whilst all our swagging is being done by porters and guides as in other mountain countries. Even if we are deprived of the use and comfort of high altitude hotels and chateaux, we are at least proud of the chain of alpine huts which extend from Arthur's Pass in the north to the Hermitage in the south. Due to the foresight and enterprise of the Canterbury Mountaineering Club there has been erected at the heads of the major rivers a shelter hut which serves as a base for exploration as well as a refuge in time of storm.

In the Waimakariri there is the Carrington Hut erected to perpetuate the memory of one of the Club's foundation members, while in the Wilberforce River there is the Park Morpeth Hut so well-known to trans-divide travellers when undertaking the “Three Pass Trip” into Westland. At the head of the Rakaia River there is the Lyell Hut, and in the Havelock branch of the Rangitata River the newly erected hut and bivouac near the Eric stream. The Godley Hut and the De La Beche Hut are the New Zealand Alpine Club's contribution to the alpine chain, the former being in the Godley Valley and the latter on the Tasman Glacier at the foot of Graham's Saddle.