Participants: Tania Seward, Sarah Inglewood, Mark Brinsden, Rachael Horner, Jeff Ducrot, Anna Larsson, Sam Stephenson, Kate Wootton, Zach Byrne, Jono Dobbs,
Dates: 24th – 25th May
Author: Tania Seward
Metservice was telling people to stay home, Snowcraft had been cancelled and the Twalk injuries had subsided from excruciating to irritating. The mood at the club meeting on Wednesday night was one of people being resigned to a weekend at home in front of the fire. However, 10 hardy souls wanted to go tramping, and the awful forecast, the lack of snow and various Twalk injuries were not going to stop them!
It was a cold but fine Saturday morning when the foolhardy 10 gathered in the UCSA carpark at the most civilised hour of 9am. We looked at various maps before deciding that we had just enough daylight to head into Woolshed Creek Hut and over Peache Pass down to Three Creeks Hut.
Being a CUTC trip with Kate in charge, there was a compulsory bakery stop in Darfield for bread rolls, coffee, cream buns and general chit-chat. At some point, someone remembered that we were supposed to be crossing Peache Pass before dark, so we reluctantly headed away from Darfield towards the Woolshed Creek carpark.
From the carpark we ambled our way into the Alford Conservation Area towards Woolshed Creek Hut. The conversation flowed as easily as our feet, and we arrived at Woolshed Creek Hut in perfect sunshine, less than two hours after leaving the carpark.
We sat on the front steps of the hut, and we contemplated Peache Pass in the distance. We contemplated the number of contour lines between Woolshed Creek and Peache Pass. We contemplated the river levels near Three Creeks Hut. And we contemplated the assortment of tea bags that we had carried in, and we decided that Peache Pass could wait for another day, and we put the billy on instead.
Later that afternoon, after many types of tea had been sampled, and everyone agreed that Tania’s Apple and Cranberry Tea was just the ticket, the foolhardy 10 took one last swig of tea, washed out the billy and went for a wander over the hills yonder.
Eight of the ten went over the hill and into the water caves, and found water, and caves. Sam, still nursing a Twalk injury, ambled back to the hut and made more tea. Tania wandered off in the opposite direction towards Peache Pass and made the acquaintance of Matt’nGary.
Later that night, we snuggled up in the hut as the wind started to pick up. Copious amounts of tea were drunk, millions were made and lost in Monopoly, and the night wore on, as steady as the turning of the pages on Tania’s Kindle.
The next morning, the wind continued to howl and the snow flurries were coming in. Undeterred, we put on yet another billy and dealt yet another hand of Monopoly while again contemplating the tramping options available.
A fortifying cup of tea later, Jeff Rachael and Mark had decided to head over the side of Mt Somers and down to the Sharplin Falls carpark, straight into the sleet and snow. After nearly being blown away by the wind funnelling down Woolshed Creek, they made their way out of sight, and the rest of us fervently hoped we would see them at the other end. Tania, Anna and Sarah decided to see how windy Mt Somers’ South Face and the Rhyolite Ridge were, and Kate, Sam, Zach and Jono headed out via the 4WD track back to the carpark.
A good few hours later, the ten were once again reunited over plates of wedges in Methven’s Blue Pub. The sleet, snow and gusty tail wind had pushed Mark, Rachael and Jeff over Mt Somers in a little over four hours. Anna, Sarah and Tania had battled sleet and ice before being half blown off Rhyolite Ridge. Kate, Sam, Jono and Zach had played Monopoly until the last possible minute before reaching the carpark in less than an hour from the hut.
The moral of the story: When the forecast is bad but you can’t face a weekend in Christchurch: pack your billy and some tea and head into Woolshed Creek. You might have sleet and snow, but you won’t be thirsty or bored.