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Heels 1969

Marchant - Renata direttissima

Marchant - Renata direttissima

"See you at Dobsons tomorrow morning."


Such was the entire organization of the trip. At Dobbies at 8.30 a.m. we had breakfast then set off in drizzle for "parts West". Soon after the real Mt.Marchant, we turned left into the Eastern Hutt, a steep, open water course, and sunshine. A peep at Eastern Hutt at lunchtime, then a prolonged pleasant climb through the sylvan glades onto the flat open top of Quoin. Here we paused, amidst an unusual and interesting panorama of the Southern Crossing, Marchant and Maymorn ridges and Hutt Valley. The untracked tussock was spiced with many little ranunculi. The descent into the Western Hutt was made via a long ridge, covered with dead timber above the bushline, then a subsidiary forested sidespur. Finally, the river, reached in the cool afternoon. Untouched campsites everywhere beckoned to us as a real "away-from-it-all" sensation settled in. The alfresco dinner, the camp-fire, the river - roar; all merged into a peaceful moonlit night. Yes it's more than 'tramping.'

Daybreak. Bacon frizzling over a primus, driven by a somnolent operator still in bed. As the chuttering of the primus died away, the river-roar returned with a tremendous surge. There was no party time keeper, so we scampered away without further ado, up a long ridge towards Renata. Mist and wind incidence increased until it was howling wickedly through the dracophyllum. Typical bloody Tararuas. We asked the recumbent forms inside Renata Hut what the time was. 8.30 came the reply. Seems we must have started early.

Trog trog into Frances Creek, pausing every so often to look at the myriads of clematis, in an area that is just recovering from chainsaws.

And so to books again.

Peter Radcliffe and Ross Gooder