Deception – Mingha

4 - 5 March 2017

The car off-loaded three people and four packs and drove back to Arthurs Pass village to park at DoC HQ. There it stayed for the two days waiting patiently for people to return. Kerry walked down to the shop and nabbed a ride from a tourist couple who’d been staying at the backpackers so he could start his walk over Morrison footbridge and hopefully catch up to Vesna, Jane and Graeme.

They had set off at 10am and had instructions to stop and wait at 11am. Walking along the newly cut bush track beside the river, in sunny weather, Kerry caught up at 11:05. The track is very well marked to assist the coast-to-coast runners. We were overtaken by two pairs of runners and met three guys who’d stayed at Upper Deception Hut. A 1pm lunch sustained us till we reached the Upper Deception Hut. Our goal, Goat Pass Hut was 2km on, and 300m higher. It’s a wonder that people can run over such lumpy terrain without doing themselves damage. We were happy to see some nice rata flowers.

Usually you only see it on a hillside but we got a close-up view of a young tree in full-bloom, right on the track. The afternoon clouded over and a hint of drizzle showed as we reached a half-full Goat Pass Hut after an eight-hour hike. The veranda at its western end is enclosed against the wind that blows up the valley—ideal when taking off wet boots. Dinner was an easy one-pot macaroni with fish then an easier-still butterscotch inst pud on crumbled gingernuts.

Sunday dawned clear and breezy and we made a leisurely 9:30 start with Vesna leading the way and still managing to stay in front while taking photos of sunshine through the mists. Low manuka on river flats gave us shelter from the wind at lunch-time. Kerry made a direct line for the road while the others skirted road works and headed to Greyneys Shelter. Hitching wasn’t successful until a campervan driven by an English tourist stopped. He said, “nobody hitches in the UK, its too dangerous”. Soon all four trampers were back in the trusty Mazda headed for home. Our walk out took about five hours so we arrived home late afternoon. We were: Vesna Mojsilovic, Jane Smith, Graeme Hunter and Kerry Moore. P KM