Another trip to Hawdon Hut
I had a plan to spend 4 days over the Labour weekend walking up the Upper Poulter river for a visit to Lake Minchin. Alas, I was once again beset by bad weather: snow flurries and rain in Arthur's Pass made the trip look dodgy. I went to the track start at Andrews Shelter anyway, but found 2 van loads from Christchurch Girls High School (about 20 of them) going on the same trip to Lake Minchin. That would be 21 of us in 16 bunk Casey Hut, and also in the 10 bunk Poulter Hut.
NB: Casey Hut burnt down in 2015 so I missed out on visiting one of my favourite huts before it was gone.
|Snow on the surrounding mountains|
Normally that would be fine, as I had my tent but I didn't fancy the idea of potentially tenting in snow so went for another option: Hawdon Hut, with a side trip up to Walkers Pass and the tarn on the pass.
|Hawdon Valley with track to Hawdon Hut|
Heading up the Hawdon River ValleyThere were a group of German tourists in Hawdon Shelter who looked slightly aghast as I explained I was heading up the valley. No doubt they were thinking more of the crazy kiwis.......Conditions were cold and windy with the occasional light fall of snow during the day, I headed down to the Hawdon and crossed the river.
|Hawdon River from track start|
|View to SE of Mt White bridge area|
|The Pyramid from the true left of Hawdon river|
|View upstream from far side of Hawdon river crossing|
|Jon prepared for the cold|
|The famous Hawdon valley 4 W/D track|
|DOC workers on ATV's, view up valley|
|Late spring conditions Arthur's Pass region|
|View up valley towards Upper Hawdon|
|Snowline along Woolshed Hill|
|Rugged ranges behind the Pyramid|
|Fresh snow on surrounding mountains|
|View up the East Hawdon from the confluence|
|Woolshed hill from mid point of Hawdon Valley|
On the true right of the Hawdon river
|Bush track along TR of Hawdon|
Classic New Zealand tramping conditions!
|Walker Pass area from the Hawdon track|
|Boulder bash on way to Hawdon Hut|
|Old Hawdon hut location|
|Hawdon Hut I site: all that's left of the old hut|
|Walkers Pass to left of centre peak|
|Hawdon Valley track, hut 500 metres away|
|View of upper Hawdon valley from Hawdon Hut|
|Jon at Hawdon Hut|
|The New Zealand Mountain Parrot: a Kea|
|The track to Walker Pass from Hawdon Hut|
|Twin Falls stream, Walker Pass track|
|Track to Walker Pass, climbing...|
|Downward view of Walker Pass track|
|Kea who followed me up the valley|
|Walkers Pass Track: view down valley from half way point|
|Classic sub alpine forest near Walkers Pass|
|Fall one: Twin Falls on the Walkers Pass Track|
|Walkers Pass Track: Twin Falls, Fall two|
|Twin Falls, a closer view of Fall One, Hawdon Valley|
|Walker Pass Track: Start of alpine zone Hawdon Valley|
|Me resting near top of Walkers Pass Track|
|Track just before reaching Walkers Pass|
|The tarn on Walkers Pass|
|Walker Pass in fine weather, Otehake end|
|View of complete Walker Pass from Hawdon Valley end|
|Afternoon view of Hawdon Valley, snow falling|
Meanwhile, back at Hawdon Hut...I was surprised to have the hut completely to myself, I felt sure that it would be bursting at the seams by the evening, but I passed the night in quiet solitude. I imagine the bad weather put a lot of people off a visit to the valley. I chopped up a good load of wood and had the fire going...even though the hut is big it was quite cosy after awhile.
|Interior of Hawdon Hut|
I heard several Kiwi calling during the night as well as a Morepork (a type of native Owl) who was sitting on a tree branch right outside the hut.
|Tasty repast: Roast Lamb and Vege with mashed spuds|
Good job DOC!
|Morning view of upper Hawdon Valley|
|Hawdon Valley: Wide expanse of gravel, typical Southern Alps|
|Heavy frost on grass|
|View looking down valley, Hawdon Valley|
|Hawdon Valley, dry riverbed, with moss covered rocks|
|Crossing sidestream on Hawdon track|
|Beautiful riverside forest track in Hawdon Valley|
|River crossing point mid valley|
|New course of Hawdon River|
|Jon in the Hawdon Valley, nearly at the car!|
If any of you are looking for a great first tramp or easy trip, a tramp to Hawdon Hut should be right up your alley. A word of caution though, watch the weather as even a moderate amount of rain will make the Hawdon impassable to all but large and experienced parties.