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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Black Hill Hut 9th-10th May 2009

Uncle Roddus Tramping Diary:Tramp No.74
Black Hill Hut  9th-10th May 2009
This was a wounderful trip I did with my friend and tramping buddy, Bryce.  The Track to Black Hill hut starts not too far from my home, so it is a place I have visited several times over the last 10 years, and Bryce and I went up there back in October 2003, when he first moved down here.
The weather forcast for this particular weekend was for frosty and clear on the Saturday, with snow down to 500 meters during the night and more snow most of Sunday. There has already been quite a bit of snow on the mountains earlier that week. With a forcast like that, the trip that I was planning to do with the Christchurch Tramping Club looked less appealing, especially as we had to cross over the Main Divide and the roads may have to close, so I called Bryce and suggested we do Black Hill hut instead, as it wouldn't be much of an issue in that type of weather, and besides I had never been up there in those conditions.
We left from the View Hill carpark at 10am on the Saturday and proceded along the Warfdale track, which apparently is an old cattle route into the Lees Valley. The Warfdale Track mainly sidles round the hills on the lower slopes of Mount Oxford, through regenerating beech forest. The forest was heavily milled at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th Centuaries, which is partly why the town of Oxford came into existance, untill 2 large fires destroyed much of the forest.
We had lunch at 12:30, at the Warfdale summit and then left the Warfdale and started up the steep track to Black Hill just past 1:00pm. There were patches of snow even this far down from earlier in the week. Got to the hut around 4:00pm. The hut is at about 1220m altitude and there was still plenty of deep snow around the hut from the earlier falls. We decided to pop up the Black Hill sunmmit before dinner, which is usually a quick climb, but with snow up to our thighs it was tough going.
Once we got the fire going, with the slightly green wood that was available, we spent a cosy night in the hut, unbeware of what was happening outside.
The next morning, true to the weather forcast, when we finally ventured outside, we discovered that several inches of snow had fallen overnight and it was still snowing fairly vigourously. After breakfast, packing and cleaning the hut, we set off back down the hill the same way we had come. What and amazing contrast to the day before, with all the snow piling up on the trees, it was such a beautiful site to see and very plesent to be walking in the snow in the forest as the trees helped keep a lot of the snow of the track. It actually snowed all the way back to the car, but much less of it at the lower levels, so not as spectacular. This trip was the perfect one to do under these conditions and as the pictures below will suggest, a stunningly beautiful one.

The slog up to the top on Saturday evening

Looking back across to Mt Oxford

Black Hill, Almost, the top was a bit further on, but as we had been there
before and with all the snow, we couldn't be bothered.

Posing with shovel so people will think we had to dig our way out :)

Black Hill Hut after a nice dump of snow.

Where was the track again?

Just follow me


 This way I think.

It was worth the effort to see this.

I think I'll have to come back next winter




1 comment:

Honora said...

Nice trip and photos, Roddus. You really gave a sense of what it was to be in the forest carpeted in snow and the cosy hut. I guess you've been down to Salmon Creek too. We've struggled up that steep route to the top in deep snow so I know how you felt.