Deception River—Mingha River

20-21 February 2021

Six is an awkward number transport-wise but gave us the option of having a car at or near the track-end. In the event we didn’t need to place a car but did put both cars in Arthurs Village. Lots of people stop at the railway station toilets so its easy to cadge a ride. By the time John had put his boots on Kerry had scored a ride with a tramping couple who were on their way to Griffin Creek, so we weren’t too far behind the others.

Soon, we were a tramping party of six, sloshing up the Deception River on this fine, sunny day. The track is well marked and only a week after the Coast to Coast leg had been through ample evidence of foot traffic was visible. Keeping a careful watch for red triangles in shady trees helped us know when to cross to the opposite bank. There are many crossings and some good bush tracks to avoid the roughest river sections. By lunch time we’d warmed up enough for some to take a dip in the sparkling water. On the go again we came to an even better spot for a dip. The pool was effervescent and our “youngsters” would have loved it but we had to keep going as DoC rates this as an 8 or 9 hour stretch for the Morrison foot-bridge to Goat Pass Hut leg.

We stopped for a look at the Deception Hut which is still quite serviceable, then pressed on past some beautiful little cascades, then away from the river, up a little stream channel that goes almost all the way to the hut. We arrived just after 6pm to join the ten people there already. Two gas burners quickly made hot water for a reviving cuppa, then Wendy and Sacha cooked up a very nice orzo (like risone) meal with green beans and peas, flavoured with bier sticks.

The hut book was full to the brim so no trampers could record their stay. Two of the hut people, CTC club members, were doing Deception—Mingha to fill a gap in their South Island Te Araroa marathon. The leg got rained-off when they first planned to do it. Our team was last away from the hut at 8:30am, Dressed warmly to counter the cool wind at our backs, we made quick progress along the Goat Pass board-walks as sun illuminated many of the slopes. Half-way down the Mingha, John and Kerry set out in an attempt to retrieve the cars from the village ahead of the team. At Greyneys Shelter they spoke to a camper driver and immediately got a ride, with packs to Arthurs. Kerry admitted that if he’d hidden his pack for the ride, he could well have left his car key behind. While taking off our boots a lone tramper arrived. He’d walked the Hawdon—Tarn Col—Edwards Route and needed a ride back to Hawdon Shelter, so we obliged. Our group thought his face was familiar and it turned out he does tea ads on TV.

This tramp has an enormous variety of scenery and vegetation and the allure of being part of the Coast to Coast. Walking it in fifteen hours gave us ample chances to appreciate the glorious scenery.

We were: Diane Mellish, Sacha Baldwin, Shiping Wang, Wendy McCaughan, John Robinson and Kerry Moore. (KM)

An effervescent Deception River

Wang and Wendy on Dudley Knob