24-25 Jan 2015
With two fine, warm days forecast we chose to do the St James section to Ada Hut first. That way we could climb to the tops in the cool of the day. We took a bike, parked the car at Deer Valley camping ground and Merv biked back to the Lewis end of Saint James Walkway. We were walking by 11am and yes, it was hot.
Cannibal Gorge Hut was deserted when we stopped there as was Ada Hut when we arrived mid-afternoon. Noisy flies buzzed in the hut but sandflies were almost absent. The stream flowing by the hut was at very low flow. John kindly shared cheese and crackers as a pre-dinner snack then Kerry’s unambitious macaroni cheese was the main. An attempted jelly for dessert failed though it had gelled by the following morning.
After walking a few hundred meters towards Ada Pass we were climbing by 7am on what would prove to be another warm day. The forest was sparse enough that we could walk a reasonably straight course. At a swampy clearing we picked up a useful deer track and an hour after leaving the hut, arrived suddenly at the tussock tops. We still had almost 400m to climb to reach the Spenser Range ridge. We gazed about on this brilliantly clear day, taking in views of Gloriana and Faerie Queene, Mt Technical and Grand Duchess. 1710m Zampa was reached via points 1681, 1692, 1687 and 1662 with a bit of downside between them. Zampa Tarn was looking rather drained and some sun-facing slopes were seriously scorched. Rather than sidle we took the more rugged route into the un-named stream that leads into the Maruia River’s right branch. We were happy to reach the shade of the first trees we came to for lunch. Going down the broad gravelly part of the stream was hot and windless. We climbed up to the bridge 1.5km from the car-park and were then back on the St James WW. Out at the road the trusty bicycle emerged from the bushes and the energetic Merv raced it back to the car and soon appeared to drive us home.
We were: Merv Meredith, John Allen and Kerry Moore (KM)