6 – 8 February 2020
The last 400m of Middlebranch Road to the Kokatahi car-park has been scoured by floods so our Corolla, laden with four trampers scraped the road in a few places. Kevin and Heather were arriving later. By 11:30, we were walking through very green field. We said ‘hello’ to a big herd of beautiful yearling jersey cows, then onto a pedestrian gate and the track. At the start of the flood track, we decided on the low route and found that manageable. At the far end of the flood track, a formidable side stream made us hesitate and choose carefully which torrent to cross. The exit from the flood track looked difficult.
We got to the hut by late afternoon, taking more than the suggested 3½ hours. A couple arrived soon after with two dogs. We didn’t object to the dogs being in the hut because they were very quiet and were search and rescue dogs so they deserved to be pampered! Later in the day, Kevin and Heather arrived to join our band. Very late in the day another group of eight arrived and divided themselves between the old hut and tents. They cooked dinner on the new hut’s deck. Our dinner had been lentil spaghetti with a fresh leek and runner beans. The lentils went into the mix late so were quite chewy.
Cedar Flat Hut had a resident possum and an almost permanent possum trapper. Dave, a mine of local information, told us of a track to Allan Knob had been re-cut in the last year. We had thought of taking the track to Jumble-top, but the hut’s wall-map says it’s un-maintained. The track to the knob is steep in places and fairly rudimentary. From Allan Knob you can go to Crinkle Top and Pinnacle Bivvy then down to Boo Boo Hut on the Kokatahi River.
The 'new' Cedar Flat hut. Photo courtesy of Murray Hight
Back at the hut on the middle day the hut possum was wandering around in the daylight, a sign of ill-health. Dave’s trap-line had produced only four possums that day so this hut possum would increase his tally by 20%. He would wait till we’d left the hut to do the execution.
During the day a young family had arrived to stay. While in the hut they played “hangman” and did a sudoku from the Press we’d taken in.
Over the three days we were there, we had ample time to visit the hot pool fifteen minutes away for a relaxing dip.
We aimed to exit the area on the Saturday so were up at 6am and away by 7:30. In fine weather and going down the Toharoa River we reached the cars in 4 hours, just as the rain started. Lunch was devoured on a picnic table just by Porky’s Takeaways in Hokitika’s Weld Street, then we were on our way back home. Many thanks to Murray for suggesting and running the trip.
We were: Murray Hight, Mary McKeown, Kate Taylor, Kevin & Heather Hughes, Kerry Moore (KM)