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Monday, June 6, 2011

Fowler Pass/Lake Guyon/Stanley River/Edwards River/Cow Stream 4-6th June 2011

Uncle Roddus Tramping diary:Tramp No. 105
Fowler Pass/Lake Guyon/Stanley River/Edwards River/Cow Stream  4-6th June 2011

Plan A:To tramp up to Koropuku(Big Tops)Hut and also visit Otehake Hot pools for the long weekend.
This plan is scuttled by Thursday night, as the weather forecast for that area is not too good,with plenty of rain forecast and possible high winds on the tops. Plan B:To head up to Hamner and over the back into Molesworth and head up to a hut on the Severn River and explore this area and hopefully stay just east of the rain.Unable to secure key for locked gate to Molesworth Station at short notice. Plan C: Head up past lake Tennyson and Island Pass and cut across to Severn River from this side. Wairau-Hamner Springs hydro Road Blocked By Slip in Island Gully. Plan D: Head back and camp at Lake Tennyson and explore from there. Possibly due to some discussion in the Leaders vehicle on the drive back to the lake, when we got to the acess road the leaders car stopped and Plan E was announced: that we would head back to Fowlers hut near Pass Stream and follow the track over Fowler Pass and tramp to lake Guyon to camp the night and see what the morrow would bring.
The area we were in is the former St James Station, now the St James Conservation estate and the routes we were to follow were new mountain bike trails, following old farm tracks and some tramping tracks. This area is huge country, with large open grassy areas dotted amongst the mountains, or is that lots of mountains dotted amongst the large grassy areas, as well as plenty of rivers and streams feeding out of picturesque valleys. Not much forest in this area but plenty of tussock and Matagori and swamps.
Fifteen keen CTC Trampers left Fowlers Hut around 12:30PM on an moderately warm day with light winds and no rain. The rain clouds could be seen hanging over the mountains to the North West and our hope was they would stay there, our intentions were to stay off the tops as the wind was forecast to be gale at 2000m. The track up to Fowlers Pass is very well developed and the climb of a lite gradient before we dropped sharply down into Smyths Stream. We then rapidly followed Smyths Stream, resting for second lunch where we meet the Stanley River, we then continued on at a brisk pace following the Stanley before rounding the base of Point 1144 and heading onto the wide grassy plain of Stanley Vale before we hit the light rain at the end of Lake Guyon.
We Camped, spread out in the excellent grassy area below the tiny Lake Guyon hut, which was full of Hunters, and spent the evening socialising around a nice bonfire before hitting the hay around 8:30PM, having walked 16KM in around 4 hours for our first day.
We were unsure of the plan for Sunday as we awoke to rain over the lake. We could see the edge of the rain band over Stanley Vale and so the days plan was to head back over Stanley Vale and continue following the Stanley River and then head back up the Edwards River to Scottys Camp Hut and onto Cow Steam which had some good camping AND according to one of our party, some unspectacular tepid hot springs. After leaving the rain behind Our first stop was at the historic Stanley Vale Hut, Where we found an old Possum Trapper living. We continued on untill we got to Racecourse Stream, where a fairly new track has be created up to and across the Racecourse Flats, which was a very nice area. The track took us up to point 992 and then lead down to point 930 following the ridge down to Charlies Saddle. Most of us just dropped off point 922 and headed straight for the hut, with a short Matagori encounter near the bottom. From there it was about another hour along the four wheel drive track to Cow s Stream and our camp for the night. 26KM in about 7 hours. Before setting up camp I popped down to check out the state of the hot pools, just below our excellent camp site, and found a very well constructed pool with quite warm water bubbling up in it. Several of the group were in it as soon as, but I helped pitch the tent and had a leisurely dinner and set up bedding etc before heading down to check the spring out. Entering the pool was a slow process due to the rather high temperature of the water and most of the group had already had their go by this time so there was plenty of room. With the heat of the pool estimated to be around 43C, it didn't matter that only our legs and backsides were in the water, and plenty of comments were made about the word Tepid.
Monday dawned fine, after a dry night and we packed up and headed off by about 8:45am for the 12 odd  kilometers back to the road, following the 4WD track, except for when we spotted the car and headed off through the swamp in a direct line to the waiting vehicle. Another excellent and enjoyable weekends tramping in an area that I haven't yet spent much time in at all.

The Fowler Hut, Our Starting point.

Heading up to Fowler Pass

looking Back Down Fowler Pass Track

On Fowler Pass

Heading into Smyth Stream

Smyth Steam, The Stanley is at the end of the ridge to the left.

Stanley Vale Hut

Heading Across Stanley Vale

Lake Guyon

Lake Guyon Hut

Our Camp

Stanley vale Hut

Heading down the Stanley, Day Two

Looking down on the Stanley as we climb up Racecourse Creek

The Racecourse

Crossing the Racecourse

The other end

View of The Racecourse from near point 992

There were a few hill around

Looking up the Edwards from Pt 992

Heading up the Edwards to Cow Stream

Looking up Cow Stream

Sunday night Camp site

Heading out Monday

Looking back down the Edwards

looking up to the head of the Edwards from the Mountain bike track.

The Car! The Car!

The Swamp on the way to the car

The reason there is a road up through here.


Honora said...

Great trip. We did it in reverse last year. I put some comments about the hot pool on the NZ Hot Springs website and will add your observation that it was 43 degrees and fairly shallow. Are the walls still in need of a bit of repair?

Enjoyed looking at your photos. It brought it all back. It's a shame DoC took the stove out of Scotties. It was a good one. Cheers.

Roddus said...

Hi Honora,

We didnt go into Scotties Hut, some hunters were there.

The hot pool walls looked fine, although I didn't look at it all that closely.

Anthony said that the pools were a lot fuller when he was last there(Must have been a lot of rain) and that is proberly why he described them as Tepid.