Uncle Roddus Tramping diary:Tramp No.81
Lake Christabel Track 5th & 6th December 2009
So Here is my first tramping post of a recent tramp I did with the Christchurch Tramping Club over on the west coast of the South Island. The lake Christabel track was one I had been wanting to complete for quite a while now. I had done the first 1 1/2 hours walk to the old hunters camp on 3 occasions but never been to the lake. I had already been to the Christabel hut back on 03, with The CTC, coming over from the Rough Creek Track. We headed over on Friday night and camped at the Palmers Rd end of the track, so we didn't have to make a late start after driving over from Christchurch on the Saturday. The Morning dawned fine and warm and of we set, 5 in the party, after breaking camp, just around 8am. Christabel track to Christabel hut, as you can see from the above map , is a fairly long but not high track, the distance from Plamers Rd to the hut is about 18KM, with the biggest climb over about a 700m saddle just before the lake. The bush is mostly black beach trees and some rimu and others, some very large and old trees on this track. Very Beautiful.
We got to the old hunters camp and stopped for morning tea, the camp has been cleared now, as DOC found it after the track got washed out and totally dismantled it. It use to be impressive, with 2 large moss beds and tarpolan covers and stone BBQ cooking area and chairs and table made from small trees, pots and pans and another tarp over the cooking area. It even had a picket fence and gate. Unfortunatly I never got any photoes of it. Sadly it is all gone now.
I left the others behind shortly after we left the old camp and after walking through a large area of almost total devestation of the forrest by some large storm a while back, huge trees just all lying mangled and broken over quite a large area. I stopped at lunch time and waited for the others to catch up, then we headed over the saddle and down to the lake. I stopped at the beautiful Christabel lake and again waited for the others to catch up, I saw them come out on another small beach, not far behind me, so I carried on. I stopped again at the far end of the lake to eat and enjoy the view looking down the lake and to wait for the others. They were not their yet after my feed and it started to rain lightly and seeing as the hut was only another 30 minutes away, I proceeded on. I got to the hut from Palmers Rd in about 7 hours, not a higly fast time but still 1 hour ahead of the rest of the party. So I set up my bed and had a look around the hut and chatted with the other bloke who had come in from Palmers Rd by himself and had passed the rest of My group.
A pleasent night was spent in the in the hut, chatting and reading the FMC mags left there and retiring about 9pm so we could get an early start in the morning as we needed to get out by mid afternoon as we also had the long drive back to Christchurch. I was last to leave the hut and caught them by the lake, then I left them behind along the lake and at the other end of the lake I stopped to eat. I waited a while for the others to catch up, but they were talking their time and I had done the lake section pretty quick, then it started to rain, so i decided to just carry on and see them at the cars. I donned my wet weather gear and headede off, up and over the saddle. althought it was wet, it was still warm and I was soon overheating in my jacket. I removed the coat and just put my head down and went for it. I met a young lady coming the other way, from Palmers Rd who was running the track to the hut and back out in the same day. I decided to carry on to the old hunters camp and stop there and eat, but when I got there I found I wasn't that hungry and I was pretty wet and it was still raining, so I carried on and got back to the car in just on 5 1/2 hours. I dried and changed ,ate lunch and then had to wait two hours for the others to come out. It was a good thing we were in My car, so i had some good music to listen to and slep a while.
A most enjoyable trip and a good workout.
The Old Hunters Camp Site
Off We Go
Through the Bush
The Blue Gray River which we follow to the lake
An Impressive tree in the wrong position.