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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Cass/Lagoon Saddle 1-2 May 2010

Uncle Roddus Tramping Diary:Tramp No.90
Cass/Lagoon Saddle 1-2 May 2010

Well, I just got back from another excellent weekend tramp in the mountains with a couple of good friends, and stunning weather. The Cass/Lagoon Saddles loop is another tramp written up in Nick Groves "South Island Weekend Tramps" and again it didn't disappoint.
Clair had asked me many,many moons ago about coming out tramping and it just didn't happen for one reason or another, and it had come up again recently at another function. I thought this trip would be perfect as she hadn't been out for a long time and I hadn't yet done this Canterbury Classic Myself. Ulrich, from my last tramp was also in and a couple of others passed.
We met at Springfield on a stunning Saturday morning and as we transferred the gear into my car it was spotted that Clair had forgotten to re-install the laces into her boots, and had in fact left them at home. This presented us with a minor logistical problem until I remembered I always kept a spare pair in my pack., Problem solved and armed with a nice bit of info to give her a ribbing about over the weekend, we set off for our destination. Leaving the car at the Cass car park, we set off up the Cass river on our 16Km journey over Cass Saddle and down to Hamilton Hut. A pleasant walk and wonderful conversations were had as we trekked out way up the river bed, through beech forest, over the saddle at 1325M and down Hamilton Creek, through more lovely Beech forest. Passed some pretty impressive examples of natural erosion and Ulrich the fungi fiend had a field day spotting the many types of mushroom along the track. Also, we were surprised to be greeted by several cattle beasts along the grassy flat before Hamilton hut(we assume they must have come up the Harper River). They soon fled from us when I mentioned how good one of them would be for dinner.
We found a group of 5 + 1 already at the hut and three more arrived soon after us and so a cosy night was had in this excellent hut, with the fire going and good food and conversation.
We were the last to leave the hut the next morning, to a brilliantly clear but frosty day and off we went on another 16km day of tramping. After calling Clair back from starting to head off to lake Colridge, down the Harper river, we crossed the river using the walk wire, cos our sox were still dry and found a short track that climbed up to a place called Mirror Tarn. This was a worthwhile side trip(see Picture below) and out timing was perfect. the second days trek up the Harper to Lagoon Saddle was a bit more picturesque than the previous day, with moss covered trees and wonderful side streams and the early morning sun streaming through the trees. We stopped at the old West Harper Hut for Smoko, avoided taking the wrong turn up Long Creek  before climbing up through the bush to lunch at the Lagoon Saddle Shelter. After a leisurely lunch we headed off past Lagoon and slopped out way round the front of Mt Bruce, getting very dirty boots, after the heavy rain they had ,earlier in the week. Then dropped down through some pine forest and Mushroom city, much to Ulrich's delite, and then back into beech forest before coming out at the Bealy car park, where Clair and I had a lovely chat sitting in the sun, while Ulrich, whom we had volunteered, hitchhiked back to my car and brought it back to us with a flat tyre.
Another brilliant and most enjoyable weekend had with excellent people and amazing scenery. Ya gotta love it.

 Our intrepid explorers ready to depart.
Ulrich gives Clair a quick lesson in river crossing techniques.

An example of some of the natural erosion in the area. we don't need to add to this by mining our lovely National Parks.

 Into The Bush.
One of the picturesque side streams we crossed.
 Bridge over the River Cass

 Another impressive piece of erosion up the Cass river. Note the stripes of red rock near the top.

 No shortage of water on this trip. 

Are we there yet. 
The Cass Saddle Hut. 
looking up to the Cass Saddle. 
Near the top of Cass Saddle. 

Looking back down towards Cass River from the Saddle. 
This photo doesn't show it very well but the stream was bright silver from the reflection of sunlight.

 Are we there yet.

 And there were a few trees as well.

Dinner, just before they ran away.

 The most excellent Hamilton hut.

A visitor in the night.

We had to try the walk wire.

 Mirror Tarn.

 Giving Clair the complete tramping experience.

 Are we there yet?

 Cool, Clear, Water.

The early sun filtering through the trees.

Very Nice.

 The old West Harper Hut.

Lagoon Saddle.

 Nearly There, On Mt Bruce Looking down the Waimack River.

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