Cameron hut (Makarora) (Aug 2014)

So it appears that I am going to do posts in reverse chronological order…  LOL.

We didn’t get a ton of winter tramping in this year, but we we made our trips count.  We did a really excellent trip with fantastic weather into a wee 4 bunk hut near Makarora known as Cameron Hut (not to be confused with the Cameron hut in Canterbury, which is a private hut but also well worth a visit!). We spent Friday night at Boundary Creek Campground just south of Makarora, and walked into Cameron hut on Saturday morning. Despite the mere 6 km into the hut, it took us a good 6 hours (so embarrassing as track time is 5 hours!) with birdwatching (3 kakas, riflemen, tomtits, tuis, etc.); stopping for photos; taking our time crossing a number of steep, fresh, slips; getting lost for a good 30+ minute after crossing the river; and stopping for lunch.  We decided upon arriving at the hut that it wasn’t really a “newbie” track (though to be fair, experienced trampers certainly wouldn’t find it terribly demanding).

Frosted spiderweb - Makarora

Frosted spiderweb at the start of the track – I think this is one of the most beautiful valley in New Zealand and here it earns its reputation over and over again – near Makarora

However, it was absolutely worth it, as Cameron was an absolutely immaculate wee hut, perfect size for 4 people, with extra room on the floor. It also had an excellent woodburning fire, and tons of available wood. The hut is also not hugely popular which is quite fun – we were the first visitors since June 1st!

We hung out in the hut in style, complete with wine and cheese. We also took a number of ridiculous photos with the random antlers we found at the hut, as you can imagine.

Cameron hut - complete with antlers

Cameron hut – complete with antlers

The valley, looking back up to Cameron hut

The valley, looking back up to Cameron hut

There wasn’t a ton of snow, as you can see.  But enough to be interesting.  Actually, the snow was very old and had managed to grow some pretty impressive ice crystals, the like of which I have never seen before.

Sunday was especially picturesque – not a cloud in the sky! We had a nice lunch by the Cameron creek, and made sure to add some more rock cairns at the point where we got lost the day before (you cross the creek at an angle from the true right, and the track doubles back on itself in the direction of the true left after the crossing – rather counter intuitive).

You would think at seeing this sign we would have realized the track was farther to the right...  alas, we instead tried to go the way we "thought" the track should go.

You would think at seeing this sign we would have realized the track was farther to the right… alas, we instead tried to go the way we “thought” the track should go.

The drive home was especially beautiful in Central. We stopped off and got a number of great photos near Lake Hawea and Wanaka.

Mountains reflected into Lake Hawea on our drive home

Mountains reflected into Lake Hawea on our drive home

This tramp seemed especially awesome as we hadn’t been out since June. Also, our friend Chris accompanied us, and although we had never tramped together before, was an excellent tramping companion (being a zoologist who studies NZ birds, he certainly scored all the points on exotic bird bingo!*).  Dylan and I are gearing up and getting pretty stoked for the summer season. Here’s hoping we can get all the tramping in that we’d like!

*Just kidding.  We didn’t actually play exotic bird bingo.  Now go watch “The emperor’s new groove” so you know what the heck that was in reference to.

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