Uncle Roddus Tramping diary: Tramp No.6
Lake Christabel Track 18th August 2002
As I approached my second anniversary of tramping, I hadn't been out to regular, this being the 6th tramp recorded in my tramping diary. This trip kicked off a more intensive period of tramping, where I got out on more club trips as well as private trips and started to get myself more known with some of the others in the CTC. During this time I also started to go on more overnight and extended trips, culminating in the epic 5 passes expedition on early 2004. This period I learned a great deal about travelling in the mountains and forests and started to accumulate all the necessary equipment for my safe and comfortable enjoyment while out in the wilds of NZ.
This particular event involved the taking of two young ladies of a vintage of around 7 & 8 years old , being the daughters of a very close friend, for a walk to an old hunters camp that had be set up 25 odd years before and well used since that time. I had discovered this camp a year or so before when a friend and myself had been camping in Hamner and came for a drive up this way and decided to explore Palmers Rd, finding the start of the Christabel track, we went for a short walk up the track. On the way in we encountered a party coming out from Christabel hut, who happened to be CTC members whom I knew vaguely. They mentioned checking out the cool hunters camp another hour or so up track. We decided to make this our destination. Around 2 hour or less from the road end we still hadn't found the camp and were about to abandon the search and head back when my friend had to go relieve himself and left the track and stumbled right into the camp. The Camp was hidden about 10 meters off the main track and you gained entrance via a gate in a picket fence made from native tree branches. The camp was very cool, with two large Moss laden sleeping areas and hand made seats and table from the surrounding woods as well as a stone cooking hearth with plenty of pots and pans and cooking equipment etc.. The sleeping areas and sitting/cooking areas were all covered by tarps tied to the trees. It was very impressive and I knew I wanted to come visit here again and possibly spend the night.
I had told my friend and her daughters about this place and they agreed for me to take them up there some time for a look. I finally found some time available and organised for us to do a day trip up. I can't quite remember the circumstances now but for some reason Sarah had something come up and couldn't go but she agreed for me to take the girls up and Emily and Caitlin were keen. The tramp itself is pretty straight forward apart from a steep bit with a rope to help negotiate it but the girls handled it well as they had been on this sort of stuff before. They were starting to lose interest after a couple of hours and were going quite slow, but I encouraged them on as we were nearly there. We did indeed find it very soon afterwards and had a quick lunch while checking out the camp. The Girls liked the place and I took some crappy photos on some old film camera I had obtained(can't lay my hands on those photos right now). The weather started to deteriorate and rain started to fall, so I instructed the Girls to get out their raincoats and that we wanted to get out a lot quicker than we got in.Well, that and the rain got them going and I almost couldn't keep up with them on the way out. We got back to the car in 1 &1/2 hours and it was now snowing as we reached the car. On the way back over Lewis Pass there was now a couple of inches of snow on the road and just as we came round the bend at the top of the pass, a car had just slid across the road on front of us into the ditch. It took me about 150 meters to gently come to a stop and I ran back up the road as the people were climbing out of their car. No one was hurt and they declined an offer of a ride as they were going in the opposite direction to me.
An Interesting days adventure.