Here are some more images from that trip. The hut sits on higher ground beside this creek that flows down into the West Matukituki. You can just make out the hut dead centre in this image:
But looking in the opposite direction the impression was totally different:
It’s easy to see how people get caught out. The mature beech forest near the hut needed more time than I had to photograph successfully. Here’s one attempt:
The valley has some really gnarly Matagouri scrub (tūmatakuru), the only NZ native plant with thorns. Difficult to do it justice in a photograph:
This old beech tree had survived floods, weather & everything (so far):
It did look rather battered:
As we drove back down, we could see numerous waterfalls on the valley walls, such as this one:
I think this may be just outside the Park boundaries and is actually farmland. What a place to be farming! In fact the early runholders feature very prominently in the hut records – the Aspinalls were obviously very good climbers.
So it was a great trip, not just the scenery, but also the chance to share a little of my son’s life. Most trips he is flying in or out over here in a helicopter. Tthe next leg up to French Ridge Hut is around 1000m of very steep track. It’s tough on clients and even tougher on the guide, who has a heavy pack. Sometime however, when the weather has closed in but they are expecting a window of good weather soon, he will have to walk. It is an extremely long trip out to the car park after an ascent of the mountain.