Scott Saddle – Pudding Hill Stream

Sunday 14 Nov

Despite the weather not looking so good, six people turned out for the walk. Alas the clouds came in as we drove up the road to Awa Awa Rata reserve.

We walked up the Scott Saddle track after having admired the myriad rhododendrons in flower. Even without the view it was a pleasant walk up, and while it was humid (actually drizzling) is was not cold. We reached the ski-field road in steadily increasing drizzle that abated a little bit as we walked down the Pudding Hill track. The track was quite overgrown with several trees to be climbed over, so we probably need to have a track clearing exercise later in the year. My plan was to come back on Scott Saddle track, as the stream was going to be high with melt-water and cold but the guys were pretty keen on coming down the stream, so we walked down the track to the stream to see. We could hear the roar of the stream as we walked down. When we got to the stream we decided to go down, as although the water was high, it did not seem dangerously high. We had lunch at the stream edge. We had a bit of trouble keeping the sandflies at bay as apparently it was not cold enough for them to stay away. Robert generously shared his repellent. The stream was high enough to require poles, so everyone without poles found a sturdy stick or two to help them balance. The river crossings did require some care and concentration, and the occasional backtracking if it got too high or strong. And the odd person got a dunking when they slipped on a rock—Hank and me. In the end, the stream part took a good three hours, and although it was tiring it was enjoyed by all. We did really enjoy our warm drinks at Darfield as we got fairly cold and soaking wet during the 7 hours it took us to complete the circuit. It was an adventure, but I do think I’d prefer this as a summer trip!

We were: Hank Boer, Robert Weir, Evelien Baas, Jan Baas (my dad), Steve Hemsley, Wayne Thomas. (EB)