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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Koropuku(Big Tops) Hut 16-17 March 2013

Uncle Roddus Tramping Diary: Tramp No 134
Koropuku(Big Tops) Hut 16-17 March 2013.

This was my second attempt to get to this hut after last years attempt fell short due to fading daylight(see report Here). This year we had more daylight hours available and Alan walked in to Lake Kaurapataka on Friday night to get a good head start. I left home at 6:45am and made really good time to the Aickens car park before 8:20 due to the light traffic, I was on the trail by 8:30.
It was a pleasantly warm and fine morning as I crossed a very low Otira river, due to there being no rain on the West Coast for nearly 8 weeks, I didn't even get my feet wet. Made the lake in just over 2 hours and stopped for refuelling but it was a very short stop as the sandflies swarmed and had me for their lunch. Next I stopped at the Otehake and after crossing the river and finally getting wet feet, even though that river was very low also, I had the rest of my morning tea without being quite so bothered by the sandflies. Now that I was familiar with the track up to the Koropuku tops I saved a bit of the time we wasted on out last attempted going the wrong way and made the bushline in just under 2 hours, where I stopped to refuel and dry out after sweating my way up this steep track. The track was still in good nick and the forest is just stunning. Still no sign of Alan, I set off again and made good time along the tops again due to now being more familiar with the route I needed to take. The track and markers are a bit vague in this section for those on their first attempt at this route. Somewhere around 2:30pm I reached the Tarn where we drop off into the Koropuku and where we camped last year. It was here I found Alan's pack, but no sign of Alan. I settled down to wait and refuel as I figured he might be on a womble on the ridge. After about 30 minutes of waiting the breeze was getting quite cool, so I decided to carry on down to the hut and left Alan a sign I had been there(although I didn't need to as he had seen me from the ridge).  The route down was quite interesting but with the route description I had from the Remote Huts Web Site I managed to find the right route without any difficulties, although it was physically quite challenging. I found the track that entered the forest lower down and enjoyed the fabulous trees and moss while following the vague but well marked track to the hut, which I duly arrived at at about 4:15PM. 7 and 3/4 hours from the road.
Koropuku  hut is a very cool hut in a beautiful location and is well worth the effort to get there. The hut has been a bit legendary within the Christchurch Tramping Club, with the club running regular trips there through the 90s and early 2000s with some interesting items being lest at the hut, like a telephone, two greens bowls balls, a light and switch screwed to the wall, a guitar and at some time in the past there was apparently a vacuum cleaner there.
Alan duly arrived about 1 hour after me and we settled in for the night enjoying the cosy little hut, having dinner and reminiscing about past trips and possible future ones before sleep took us not long after dark.
The weather forecast was for rain overnight Saturday and continuing into Sunday with possible heavy falls. We were hoping that this forecast might hold off for another day as sometimes happens and things were looking good when I got up for a call of nature in the early hours of the morning, but just on dawn the sound of rain hitting the hut skylights put a damper on our hopes of getting out dry. Alan left sometime just before 8:00am to get a head start up the hill and I left the hut about 8:30 in full wet weather regalia and a steady drizzle. Once I started the climb back up the tops I soon started to overheat in all that gear and as the rain was quite light I put the parker and over trousers away and got just as wet from sweating than from the rain. The climb back up the creek bed wasn't as bad as it looked going down and it didn't take long to get back onto the tops, I would have been a lot more challenging if there was actually any water flowing down it. Alan was making good time and although I saw him briefly as he was nearing the tops, I didn't catch him till we were nearly back at the bushline. The visibility on the tops was quite limited with the low cloud and heavier drizzle and I was quite wet by now and having trouble seeing due to the amount of rain on my glasses which made it quite frustrating when I was trying to find where the track started to drop back down through the scrub, there weren't all that many markers. I soon found what I was looking for and very soon after caught up with Alan. Back in the forest heading back down to the Otehake the rain penetrating the forest canopy was intensifying and so I put on a dry top and raincoat again. By the time we stopped for lunch at the Otehake the rain was quite steady. After Lake Kaurapataka I left Alan and  stepped up a gear for the rest of the trip back to the car. By this time this area was getting a much needed drink of water and I was getting quite wet again. Thankfully got to the car and dry clothes at 3:45PM, taking 7 and 1/4 hours.

In the Taramakau Valley

The forest near Pfeifer Stream

The lake looking much lower than last year.

The gnarly forest 

The lake from the bushline.

The tops.

The forest near the hut.

First view of the hut.

Guitar, phone, light switch.

Looking up Koropuku valley

The stream near the hut

Uncle Roddus at the hut.

The track very near the hut.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And a big thank you to Frank and Honora who saved this hut from being removed by spending an immense amount of time cutting and marking the badly overgrown track.