Fowlers Pass – Lake Guyon – Maling Pass

22-23 January 2022

Motoring by 7am got us walking towards Fowlers Pass at 10:30 on a totally blue-sky day. We passed lots of mountain daisies that had finished flowering and a fine array of astelias beside this gently sloping track. Lower down every little gully seemed to have a stream and Wendy had her mug on the outside of her pack so she could sample them all. Around the pass vegetation is sparse with lots of bare gravel. A zig-zag track gets you alongside Smyth Stream and then the track follows the stream through patches of beech. The stream meets the Stanley River and the valley widens. As we neared Stanley Vale we met two dirt bikers who were wondering where they were as they churned through patches of swampy track and were heading towards Fowlers Pass. We put them right so they re-churned their way back to the solid four-wheel drive track.

The day became warm so we had a break under a big rowan tree near Stanley Vale Hut before following the track to Lake Guyon. Rowans seem to be taking over this area, smothering the matagouri. Lake Guyon Hut is halfway down the lake in a beautiful location. Near the hut ten 4WDs were encamped. Dan, Lee and Kerry used the oh-so-hot hut, Alison, John and Wendy tented. Candles in the hut were keeling over as they softened in the heat. The little stream beside the hut has created a tiny gravel delta which was an ideal “beach” for the swimmers who braved the sandflies for a welcome dip.

Dan and Lee cooked a first-rate pasta and tuna meal and Wendy and Alison came up with a very fancy fruit-cake and cookie dessert. The “dining room” was under trees in a nice breeze. We were up at six and away by 7:30 on a chilly morning with the sun taking its time to get above the hills. Later in full sun and climbing to Maling Pass we were overheating and welcomed the shade of beech trees 1km short of the pass. John and Kerry set out ahead of the bunch so John could retrieve a car. We figured there would be traffic along the Wairau-Hanmer Hydro Road to hitch a ride with. We missed the first vehicle we saw by 300m. Then a minute after we reached the road, three motor-cyclists turned up and one offered to give John a ride the 10km to the cars. John had to hold onto his hat as the driver overtook the other two bikes so had a thrilling but dust-free ride. He soon returned to pick up the crew, minus Kerry who’d hitched with a Culverden farmer, the 10km to the other car. Back at the Fowlers car park we changed, then headed for the Hanmer ice-cream shop and home.

We were: Dan Pryce, Lee Varty, Alison Maccoll, Wendy McCaughan, John Robinson and Kerry Moore. (KM)

John on the Moki Track alongside the Waiau River