Return to an old favourite... Magdalen Hut, St James Conservation Area
This is my first trip for a number of months as poor weather and a family trip to Australia meant that I didn't get out over the winter months. My original plan was to visit Mid Robinson Hut near Lake Christabel, but less than ideal weather meant I needed to find a new tramp.
|The St James Walkway: southern exit - car park, Boyle Village|
Day One: On the way to Magdalen Hut
I took the opportunity to go for an overnight tramp up the St James Walkway to Magdalen Hut.
It is about 11 km's upriver, 10 km's to the second swing bridge turn right and another 1 km downriver. I love this hut it is clean, tidy and in a great spot, this is the 2nd time I have been here.
|Boyle Village to Magdalen Hut|
|Sign at southern end of St James Walkway|
|St James Walkway: 4 W/D track up valley|
You can follow a gravel access road to the beginning of the track about 1.5 km's up the valley, this is an easier option than the sidle track at the beginning of the walkway.
|Lower swing bridge, Boyle River|
The real track begins at the first wire bridge over the Boyle River, as you can see in the photo below the river was running high due to recent rain.
It did occur to me that you wouldn't even have time to think "I'm going to die" if you fell into the river. Luckily the St James has walk wire or swing bridges over all of the significant rivers.
Another view of the very swollen river, normal flow would be about a quarter or less of this amount. I heard a low rumbling sound as I was walking this part of the track. I assumed it was a bulldozer etc. working up valley until I got closer to the the river and realised the Boyle was making the sound. In high flow New Zealand rivers will pick up boulders and drag them along the river bottom making a low rumbling sound.
You should not enter a river making this sound or you will die, its that simple!
Here is the track condition about 2 kms up the valley. The weather wasn't too bad, I had rain for about 30 minutes of the 3.5 hours it took to get to the hut. The rest of the time it was cool with occasional low cloud as seen below.
|St James Walkway: Approaching St Andrews Flat|
|St James Walkway: View down valley from mid point of day|
There is an suggestion about that all tramping parties in New Zealand should carry a firearm. The idea is that we could all be blasting deer, rabbits, stouts, possums, Thar etc. and help the native flora and fauna. I think it has merit, provided people didn't start blasting each other as well.
|Crossing St Andrews Flat, St James Walkway, St James Conservation Area|
|Magdalen Hut (2007)|
|Magdalen Hut: me standing outside the hut|
|Magdalen Hut interior showing the table and wod burner|
|View towards Maritana and the Opera Range, rain coming in|
|Maritana Stream next to Magdalen Hut|
Day two: Return to Boyle Village via the St James Walkway
|Magdalen Hut at sunrise on day two|
There was a mild frost the next morning, the area around the hut was a bit cold, the frost quickly disappeared as the sun rose and warmed the valley.
|View of Magdalen Hut from across Muritana Stream|
|St James Walkway: The track back to the second Boyle River bridge|
|Mid Boyle River swing bridge, from the true left bank|
|DOC St James Walkway sign at the Mid Boyle swingbridge|
|St James Walkway: swing bridge|
|St James Walkway: Climbing over the ridge|
|St James Walkway:Muddy conditions|
|St James Walkway: More of the mud...|
|St James Walkway: Lots of windfall trees|
|St James Walkway: Heading down to St Andrews Flat|
Obviously, beech forest does not like those kinds of wind speeds.
|St James Walkway: Looking east towards the Poplar Range|
|St James Walkway: View east across St Andrews Flat|
|St James Walkway: Crossing one of the bush fingers en route|
|Back at the lower Boyle River swing bridge|
|On the gravel road heading back to Boyle Village|