Nina - Lucretia - Brass Monkey - Lewis Tops

22-23 April 2017

Four signed on for this trip but on the day Merv and Kerry were waiting by Merv’s car for a no-show who’d cancelled at the last minute but the message didn’t get through on time. When Kerry checked his answering machine there was the message so we drove the short distance to Peter’s place and parked Merv’s car in favour of Peter’s smaller machine.

We’d planned to start walking at 0930 but it was more like 1000 when we set off up the Nina. At the bridge we stayed on the true left rather than crossing to the Nina Hut track. An hour on, we came to a little marker telling us we were at Lucretia Stream and the biv was another two hours. For a less-travelled route the track is pretty good and above the biv quite useable with permalat markers. The standard bright orange biv has a fire-place so is called a hut on the topo-50 map.

Its in a pleasant clearing and would be a nice place to stay. Above the biv/hut we lost the track briefly a few times when going through patches of ferns. At the head of the valley where the beech forest appeared to cease the track leads up through forest at a steep angle eventually getting above the tree-line and emerges only one and a half “squares” from the biv. A climb to nearly 1600m and then a 300m drop down a spur to the biv and we were happy trampers. The biv had one guest already--an agreeable young man--Tom from Auckland. Kerry set to cooking while Peter and Merv pitched the olympus tent. Dinner was macaroni with cream cheese and fish, then true-to-form, custard on gingernuts.

The night was milder than we expected so Merv’s winter sleeping bag was overkill. We chose to take the Lewis tops route out to the road. Looking down towards Maruia Springs a valley fog persisted as we walked past many tarns in fine weather. Mt Technical beckoned but will have to wait for another day. The track through forest sidles parallel to the highway for quite a way and emerges opposite the Cannibal Gorge car park. With the car back at the Nina, Peter had to hitch a ride and an obliging Chch TC member gave him a ride in their campervan. We were motoring by 4pm so were able to catch a late afternoon tea/coffee at Culverden where Merv dazzled (or baffled) Peter with PTC trip expense arithmetic. It did get a bit complex with Kerry providing the food and paying for petrol at Amberley. A great trip ably led by Peter Umbers with Merv Meredith and Kerry Moore along for the adventure. (KM)