Lake Daniells

27-28 June 2015

Five keen trampers drove toward Lewis Pass, Saturday morning. This was the weekend after heavy snowfalls. A week before Lewis Pass was closed with snow and a week of black ice on Canterbury roads resulted.

So the views of snow on the mountains through the pass were stunning. We passed an upturned 4WD that had spun off the road and saw ambulances passing for another accident. Graeme knew to drive very carefully after losing traction on his way to pick up his passengers. He said there’d been snow in the Sheffield area all week.

We arrived at the Marble Hill rest area, late morning, and headed off towards Lake Daniells with the DoC sign predicting a 3 hour walk to the hut. It was a stunning stroll—over the deep blue water at the Sluice Box, through beautiful beech forest, and moss-covered land. The path was so nice. It was great to be able to look at the bush, the stream, and waterfall views, instead of our feet.

We found a cosy lunch spot, and we weren’t worried about the group of young people following behind us, as the hut has over 20 beds—very luxurious.

Arriving at the hut in under 3hr gave us extra time to start the fire from the damp wood in the wood (and coal) shed. We got it going well enough for the lower part of the chimney to glow a dull red, and shared a yummy few cuppas, and delicious whiskey-flavoured mud-cake, made by Jane. This was a lovely peaceful time in the hut. When the youngsters arrived we made them responsible for the fire, and walked to the end of the lake where we were able to look back to see the hut 1¾ km away.

The lake looked stunning in calm weather with a group of small black scaup paddling around. There was a lot of windfall of beech trees but we basically followed the edge of the lake, for an hour. As daylight was fading we returned briskly to the hut. The track would be hard to find in the dark, especially around windfalls. Before we went indoors we gathered wood, hoping it would be drier for the next group than the fuel we had to use.

It was a cosy night in the hut, feasting on my spaghetti bolognaise, and Kerry’s delicious, gingernut, custard and sago delight dessert which tasted just as good the next morning for breakfast. Thanks to Mary for doing the dishes, Graeme for being the fire master, Jane for the mud cake, and Kerry for organising. We were:

Graeme Hunter, Mary McKeown, Jane Smith, Kerry Moore and Gayle O’Halloran (GO)