Kowai River Valley Explore

Sat 26 Sept 2015

With this maxim in mind we set off from Church Corner—always drive to the start of the track in case the weather is better where you are going. It wasn’t.

Ten hopeful souls started walking from the Kowai River carpark at 9.15am in cold, drizzly weather. We followed the track above the Kowai Stream, keeping our feet more or less dry, and arrived at our third river crossing minutes before reaching the John Hayward Memorial hut on Brooksdale Station. This hut was built for Lincoln College in 1973. Hydrology research was carried out in this welcoming little building. Once everyone was inside the primus was lit and hot tea enjoyed, whilst snow fell outside. If you come on our trips, hot tea in cold weather is almost always guaranteed. When everyone was warm and fedwe discussed climbing to Bobs Knob and along the ridge, or to explore further up the valley towards the Gap. As visibility was poor we chose the latter.

Following the river while staying on the terraces, was both pleasant and interesting. At times the cloud cleared to reveal the area around Foggy Peak. With Kerry at the front of the pack, and me at the back we continued up-valley, descending into a steep little side stream, and back onto the river terrace until we reached the “Kowai Gorge”. We saw a couple of cairns marking a route and some evidence that people use this route. Kevin was perhaps the only person who had walked this way before. At this point it was obvious that upwards was the best direction to take. It also became evident as to how to approach The Gap, should we ever consider doing it from this direction. Earlier in the week I had discussed this route with Graham Allely, who has climbed The Gap from this direction. I did find his advice worthwhile. So we scrambled up towards the top of a small knob, below Torlesse and headed back towards the hut.

By now it was nearing 1pm (oops I forgot about lunch! – the approach to The Gap being very interesting); but needless to say every tramper has a “stomach-clock”, and at precisely the right moment we found ourselves in a small Dracophyllum clearing that provided some shelter from the breeze. The weather had cleared sufficiently for some watery sunshine to make our lunch stop feel pleasant and warm. The clouds cleared, so that we had a fleeting view of The Gap. We continued down a spur to get back onto the terraces near the hut.

Before taking our leave of the hut, we brewed the billy once more and then Darcy swept the floor and we headed out. This time we followed the river down to the beehives, criss-crossing at the various bends so we had very wet, cold feet – better at the end of the day than at the beginning. On several occasions, some of us linked up and did proper river crossings. We arrived at the cars about 4pm.

We were: Kevin Hughes, Jill Fenner, Alison Maccall, Hank Boer, Darcy Mawson, Stuart Payne, Mary McKeown, Kerry Moore, Geoff & Mary Korver. (Ten in all - a good muster considering the marginal weather) (MK)