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Heels 1967

Mt. Arthur Range. Christmas 1966

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Mt. Arthur Range. Christmas 1966

Having been Christmas-type entertained and fed by the unique Little family, three of us prepared to embark in Mr. Little's car to the Baton River. A late arrival proved to be Dave Greig, who had got himself organized the night before and met us before we left [unclear: Chris] place.

In perfect weather we lost ourselves straight away, but sere soon heading up the right valley to arrive at the foot of the track to Loveridges Hut, inspecting recent gold sluicing attempts and making half-serious claims to large portions of fool's gold' found in the rocks' of the river-bed en route.

The track to Loveridges is at first steep. The heat, steepness, and heavy packs soon took their toll, but we eventually struggled up to Loveridges hut. We found two sheets of rusty corrugated iron and an earth floor and conveniently placed outside, a rotting set of antlers in velvet-yech!!

Needles, to say, we slept in tents that night. Next morning we left at a respectable hour, with only half a half-axe- Dave flew off the handle!!

We arrived on top of the first bump shortly and followed it to the Mt. Arthur range proper. It was misty at first but cleared considerably as we reached the Twins (5900). Several deer were seen at this time and we lunched just under a ridge leading from the Baton River to the Twins. After lunch we rounded the ridge and descended to a dry valley east of the Twins. I managed to persuade the others to drop packs and ramble up to have a closer look at these limestone masses. We got to the small saddle between the two peaks, but it was misty and cold up there so we returned to our packs and started to look for the 'excellent campsite with stream', Alas, all we found were large boulders of limestone, but a site was soon fixed on and we set the tent up, as by now it was raining.

Our immediate problem was water, so one bod was co-opted to descend to the nearest availble water with all our water containers. Kevin's whistle was put to good use in order to orient him and ho returned safely with the required liquid. It rained that night and intermittantly the next day, so it was democratically decided that we stay put.

The next day was overcast but not raining, so we set off along the range again. Being trained to well-behaved Tararua ridges we were not prepared for the idiosyncrasies of the Mt. Arthur range north of the Twins, and after bumbling through a mass of limestone boulders with mighty sink-holes between them, we descended into what was apparently the campsite we should have camped in (this at the head of the north-west branch of the Ellis Stream, is A-1 superb recommended)! From here we saw that from the Twins one should keep high and follow the true range to Mt, Arthur proper. Anyway, we at last managed to get to the top of so-called 'Mount' Arthur and survey the by now superb views. When we got back to our packs we had a lenghty 'lounge' and watched two 'peasnts.' heading towards us from Flora Hut way. Chris's comment was-'They're probably on honeymoon". Kevin's was-'Probably a geologist rock-hunting'. These truly Delphic pronouncements became embarrassingly true when John Rhodes and his wife Ann came closer.

That evening was spent pleasantly at Alora HUt and next day in a crystal-clear morning we trudged up Lodestone. From now on there were no tracks. This was soon apparent as wecrashed [sic] through the thick juvenile beech off Lodestone, but soon we adapted ourselves to the new enviroment, not however, without the necessary moans and sarcastic comments to our all page break suffering leader (what else is a leader for?). We managed to struggle on to Crusader by late afternoon and rested long on top delaying as long as possible the awful moment when we must drop, literally, from Crusader down the ridge to Hoary Head. At last, however, we set off and, scratched and battered, reached a reasonable campsite. Water was again obtained 'per aquarium', as usual, and we were [unclear: waf] to sleep by the pure goodness of Chris's 'haricot' stew. The next day was fine as we [unclear: trudg] on up to Hoary Head but misty as we headed down. We decided to go out over Brown Acres rather than continue on to Takaka Hill road and reaching the top of Mt. Campbell in mist we set off in the direction we thought was right and, by some chance, it was, as we found, grass pastures, a hut and a road leading down. We followed this road a fair way through a motley of native bush, farmland, pine plantation and scrub and eventually hit a road and farmhouse where we were kindly fed, and then we settled down for the night in a nearby hay-barn.

Next morning we set off to [unclear: thu b] back home.

Party:- Chris Little (leader), Dave Greig, Kevin Pearce, Ross Gooder.

-Ross Gooder.