Lake Angelus via Speargrass

16- 18 November 2018 (Show Weekend)

The trip started bright and early, leaving Christchurch at 6:30 am on the Friday morning. It was a lovely drive up through Lewis Pass to the start of the track. We left the van at around 1pm, and started up the Robert Ridge Track after a discussion whether to go via Speargrass Hut or via the ridge due to the high wind forecast. Most of us wanted the climb out of the way first!

The track followed the edge of the bush, winding up the hill till we reached the top. Once we arrived we were treated to a beautiful view of Lake Rotoiti and down the valley where we stopped for a breather and food. After that we followed the ridge, luckily the clouds stayed away even though the wind had picked up and was rather noticeable on the exposed ridge. It was a bit of a slog in places, especially in one part where some scrambling was required. After four more hours of walking it was a relief to cross the last saddle and have the stunning view of Lake Angelus before us.

Unfortunately, the hut booking system hadn’t started up yet so the hut was a bit packed but luckily there were some spare mattresses. In my opinion, one of the best views of the trip was seen that night with the moon illuminating the lake and snow with an ethereal glow.

The next morning, unfortunately, clouded in and the views were limited, but after a hearty breakfast we headed off into the drizzle and down into Speargrass valley to the hut. Once we reached the valley, we were out of the cloud and luckily the weather cleared up a bit and we had a great view of Speargrass valley. The track then followed the stream down the valley, periodically crossing it. This was slow going as most of us were trying to keep our feet dry which required some creative path planning, thanks to Kerry for throwing his poles back across the stream to help me get across. However, in the end only two out of the six of us actually keep or feet fully dry. We reached the 12 bunk Speargrass Hut around 1pm, and were lucky enough to have the hut to ourselves. After lunch, Angela and Alison decided to head up towards Sabine hut for a few hours while the rest of us stayed behind and chilled out.

From the weather forecast, before we left we were expected to be walking out on Sunday in pouring rain. However, we were rather surprised to end up walking out in spotty cloud cover and sun! Again the walk was lovely and very different from the previous days, this time walking through native bush. Jim and I had the great pleasure of finding out what a flood route was like (note the sarcasm) and Miriam was dragged along for the ride when she didn’t realise there was another route. Thankfully Jim was a great help for Miriam getting round the track, and we all arrived on the other side in one piece. After that it was an easy walk out to the carpark with the weather still holding out.

A lovely weekend with: Miriam Preston, Kerry Moore, Jim Ouano, Alison McColl, Angela Grigg (leader), and Emma Grigg. (EG)