Location: Andrews Shelter, Arthur’s Pass
Date: 21 March, 2015
Participants: Matt Falloon and a crew of happy tramps
Words & Images: Susanne Birgelen
On a very sunny Saturday Matt and a group of motivated trampers met at the UCSA carpark. Everyone arrived well prepared with towels and extra clothing, since we were going to be wet. Our plan called for an adventure, so we were very glad for the great weather. We started walking at Andrews Shelter, about 25km south of Arthur’s Pass Village. Right at the beginning we had to walk steeply uphill. But the rest of the first half of the tramp was rather a nice stroll tramping up the Andrews Stream Track. We had plenty of time and pleasure to enjoy the forest, take pictures and watch birds.
The lunch break then marked the turning point of the day. Most of the group took a quick detour to explore a nearby hut while Matt and I decided to extend our break instead and stayed at the side of the river enjoying the sun and numerous sandflies. When the group was complete again, we prepared for the exiting part of the tramp: rolling up trousers, tightening shoes and putting everything away in a water proof place. Taking a deep breath we stepped into the water, as we aimed to head back via the streambed itself! It’s a nasty feeling, when not too warm water floods your shoes.
After a while it would feel warmer, we were told by Matt. It took quite a while. So we started walking down the stream, with lots of slipping and jumping from boulder to boulder. First only ankle deep, we soon stood knee deep in the water (yay, finally I didn’t feel the cold any longer). Then we came to the narrowest and steepest parts of the valley, meaning the deepest parts of the stream. I watched my fellow tramps in front of me trying to walk on a rocky cliff around this area. One slipped, the other started swimming –and I made a stupid decision. Climbing up the wall of the valley was easy (and dry), just coming down was way harder than expected. My thanks go to everyone who directed me from below, waited patiently and didn’t comment on my brilliant idea.
After that part it became easier again. Now we didn’t have far to go anymore and after a total of 6 hours we returned to Andrews Shelter. After drying and changing we headed back to Christchurch. Also thanks to our van who bravely climbed up the steep roads! All in all I really had a great day, in wonderful nature, with some adventures and a very nice group!