Robinson River - Lake Christabel – Blue Grey River.

13 -15 Nov 2009

The five of us left Christchurch at 7.30am for Palmers Road. After hiding a bike at the Lake Christabel track-start, we drove on to the road-end and were tramping by 11.15am. These days you can no longer drive right to the track start—a locked gate made us walk one km along the road.

The track soon crosses at a bridge to the true left and follows the Robinson River. The track is in bush with some river flat travel. We had a late lunch at the Mid Robinson Hut with its open door, before heading somewhat reluctantly out into the rain, bound for the Top Robinson Hut. We arrived at the hut at 7pm to find that door open too and rat droppings everywhere. Luckily the rats didn't make an appearance during the night.

We left the hut at 8.25am on what was our best weather day. We climbed quite steeply through the bush to get to the Robinson Saddle. We had to cross numerous patches of snow on the tops but fortunately the snow was soft. The mists cleared and great views were had as we dropped steeply down the other side of the saddle. Following a good bush track we arrived at Lake Christabel Hut a little after 3pm. This was my third trip to this hut, each time coming via a different route. I was pleased to find an entry for each of my trips in the hut book, especially since the first trip was nearly 11 years ago.

After reading the hut book we were a bit concerned about the state of the track around the lake and along the Blue Grey River. DoC has done a lot of work to keep the track open but there were still plenty of trees to clamber over, under and around. We made good time, helped along by rain which really set in by midday. Having left the hut at 8.25am again all of us were out before 3pm. The mice running across the track kept us entertained throughout the day. Kerry had gone ahead to bike back to the car so that we didn't have to wait too long. Thanks Kerry. We quickly changed into dry clothes before heading to Culverden for a snack.

Our tramping times were 8, 7 & 6 hours. The terrain and the longish days made this a fairly challenging tramp. However I think everybody got a lot out of it. Thank you to Murray and Kerry for leading the trip and to Pam and Joy for your company. Participants were: Murray Hight, Kerry Moore, Joy Schroeder, Pam Crosswell and Lisa Williams. (LW)