Nina Hut - Devilskin Saddle

28 - 30 April 2022

Due to a poor weather forecast the scheduled trip, Potts River- South Ashburton 23-25th April 2022 was cancelled but replaced with new dates and location.

Thursday: At about 7.45 am we all travelled north with trip leader Merv Meredith in his car. A 2½ hour drive got us opposite the Nina Valley at the deerstalker’s, Palmer Lodge. On our way to Nina Hut, we came across four groups with a total of 16 trampers and they were tramping back from Devil’s Den or Nina Hut, or day-tramping. Among them, a group from ‘Home Bus’, had 6 children (one was under 4!) and 4 adults, which was impressive. During lunch-break, we had a good chat to them. We passed 184 numbered pest traps along the way but only saw a couple with checked-in guests.

Along the way two swing-bridges kept our feet dry and we arrived at Nina Hut, about 4.20pm. Another family with two young children, Elsie and Daisy, joined us at 5pm. Another tramper arrived after dark! We had a very pleasant night in this warm hut, with hot tea, hot soup and a nutritious hot dinner, courtesy of Merv.

Friday: After packing for a day trip, we headed for Devilskin Saddle. At 1.15 pm. At a height of about 1100m, we decided to have lunch and turn back, so we could reach Nina Hut before dark. We didn’t meet a single human during, or after, our tramping, but we had lovely company from robins, including a black one, tomtits and fantails. One fantail was very keen to have a long conversation with us. We saw three rain gauges and only three pest traps on our trip. Back at the hut we felt like royalty, getting another nutritious hot dinner.

Saturday: We met three groups with a total of seven people on our way out to the road. Four of them planned to go to Devils Den. One of them was carrying a rifle instead of hiking poles.

On each day we took more than the sign-posted time as we absorbed new sights and sounds on this educational adventure. Thanks go to Merv for giving us valuable information about NZ forests, trees, pests and birds. We really enjoyed our three days.

Trampers were: Merv, Arju and Sha. [SSG]