Another late post! Dylan and I wanted to get away on an “easy” trip the first weekend in June. We finally decided to tick off a trip that Dylan had wanted to do for 3 years now – the Livingstone range which is the ridgeline just above the Greenstone track.
We set off from work earlyish on a Friday, and made it to the Divide in good time – around 9:30 or so. We had a very crisp walk into the Lake Howden hut – took roughly an hour. I felt very guilty as we arrived into the hut around 11 pm and disturbed another pair who probably weren’t expecting other trampers to come clomping in so late at night.
The night was very cold and frosty. I slept about as poorly as I ever have in a hut as it was absolutely freezing. I’m not sure how it’s possible, but I’m certain Howden hut was colder inside than outside. Honestly, even Dylan was cold. It was like sleeping in a fridge.
But we had a decent start and headed back up to Key Summit and had easy travel along the tops – there is a route most of the way. We were rewarded with many spectacular views.
As the day progressed, the wind started to pick up and clouds started to come in – it was getting cold and I was getting tired. After some discussion, we decided to head down towards McKellar hut earlier than planned (our original plan was to hit 1543 then come down the ridge as we anticipated there might be a bit of a track there). Instead, we ended up going down a very steep face and then bush bashing for ages. I’m not sure when the last time you tried to bushbash your way through fiordland forest but I do not recommend it. I had no idea that ferns felt so much like razors on bare skin (sure it’s winter but this is NZ so who wears pants, am I right?)!
After a couple of hours struggling to make our way down, we finally made it back to the Greenstone track. We were very glad to see signs of civilization again. So much for an “easy” day!
That night we had McKellar all to ourselves (some hunters were holed up in the warden’s quarters, however) and managed to get it nice and toasty. And being the good trampers we are, we left it stocked with more wood than was there when we arrived (as many previous trampers complained about the lack of dry wood upon arrival at the hut). I hope whoever arrived after us did the good thing and continued to replenish the hut wood supply.
Sunday was a super easy day after our wood making session. And as a bonus, we came across this little guy – a species of fungus I had never seen before – for which I was incredibly thrilled.
Have you been able to get out on many trips this winter? Happy Tramping!