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Sunday, November 16, 2003

Rough Creek - Christobel Hut - Nina Valley 14-16 November 2003

Uncle Roddus Tramping diary:Tramp No 29
Rough Creek - Christabel Hut - Nina Valley 14-16 November 2003

After 3 years with the Christchurch Tramping Club, I finally decided I had learnt enough to get out on some weekend trips. The first one being this three day expedition where we headed up from Rough creek, near Maruia Springs, over to the Christabel hut for the first night and then over the saddle into the Nina Valley for the second night and then out the Nina on the third day.
Being Show Weekend in Canterbury, it was a Friday, about 10:45am as we left the highway at Rough Creek and headed up through the Beech Forest on a warm cloudy day. We made the bush line in about 2 hours, rested and refueled before heading off across the tussock to the saddle, while enjoying the views of Lake Christabel and Valley. We dropped off the Saddle in some leftover snow before negotiating the challenging track that took us to The Christabel Hut. We arrived at the hut around 6:30PM where, after giving me a bit of stick about carrying too much water, Alan Ross, revealed the 1KG block of chocolate he was carrying as well as the fact that he was also travelling with PJ's, a teddy bear and a fake plastic lower leg and foot with a fake flesh wound, which was used later in the trip as a practical joke.
Leaving the Christabel hut at 8:30am on an overcast and drizzly morning, we headed off along the track which heads to the Robinson Valley. The track was difficult to follow as we got further up valley but finally got to the top of the poled route by mid afternoon. From here, we sidled slowly, through very wet and slippery scrub and snow to the saddle at around Point 1452, before bolder hopping and then bushbashing our way to the Nina biv, arriving around 7:00PM. As the Biv could only sleep 2 persons, and after consulting the map and seeing that the Nina hut was only about 4KM down river on what was believed to be a fairly good track, 4 of the party decided that we had enough daylight time to get to the hut with bunks etc and not have to sleep the night in a tent. The other two would stay at the Biv and meet us at the hut the next morning.
After nearly three more hours of travel on what seemed to be an Ok track, but maybe due to tiredness slowing us down, we still hadn't found the Nina Hut. Darkness had come and we hadn't yet had any dinner, when about 10:30PM we decided to stop and camp on the track. It was then discovered that half the tent was back at the Biv with the other two and so three of the party slept under a jerry rigged setup with half a tent and Uncle Roddus volunteered to sleep out in his big orange emergency bag on his first overnight trip out. Lucky the rain had gone, but it was not a very comfortable night and I managed to slide halfway down a small slope by morning.
The others arrived at our camp about 11am the next day and we carried on the 15 minutes to the Hut, which we found was no longer there, just a concrete slab where it use to be. At this point someone mentioned that they remembered that the hut had been removed and a new one was built across the river, there were no sign posts to indicate this. We headed back to the highway, passing the new bridge and sign directing people to the new Nina hut, a couple of hours down the track and we arrived at the NZDA Hut at about 3:30PM.

Clearing the bush line on the way up

Fairly fresh snow in November

The view of lake Christabel

The Track to the hut

It was slow going.

Christabel Hut

Aland chocolate

Didn't take any photos on Saturday as it was quite wet and the camera stayed wrapped up in the pack all day, but here is Uncle Roddus sleeping place.
Where the hell is the Nina Hut

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