Snow makes a really disconcerting sound when it scrapes along the bottom of a newly bought car who’s clearance you’re not entirely used to yet. A terrible scraping sound which seems more like it’s bottoming out on the gravel road and doing major damage to your undercarriage. With that out of the way this is the account of our trip to Anti-Crow hut on the weekend of the 3rd-4th of August 2019.
The initial plan before the weather forecast came in was to have an overnight trip to Carrington hut. But with reports of both heavy rain overnight and snow to 400m coming in Sunday afternoon the trip was scaled back to something we could get to and get out of without being trapped by the Waimakariri or snow too deep to drive out of. Anti Crow hut fit the bill being about an hour and a half up the Waimak at a casual pace.
So the four of us met up in the UCSA carpark at 9am to head up to Arthurs Pass. We had the obligatory stop at Sheffield introducing the car to the glory that is a Shefield Pie. On the drive up we could see the snow which had fallen over Friday night on the hill tops but didn’t see any at the road side until approaching Porters pass. There were loads of people out playing in the snow both at the top of Porters and down at Lake Lyndon.
The walk in was uneventful, crossing an ankle deep Waimak then heading up Turkey flats to the track there in order to avoid having to cross the river again. There was a light covering of snow where it hadn’t melted yet and although the weather was fine we could see clouds coming over the mountains at the far end of the valley with a cold wind picking up as we neared the hut. I was happy to see that there was smoke coming from the chimney as a warm hut is always nice to arrive at.
Anti Crow is a fairly old standard category 6 bunk hut with a decent stove and water tank. There are a few holes in the floor mostly where the boards have pulled away from each other, some have been patched up some haven’t. In that hut we found Adrian who had been walking for the past couple of months from the top of the South Island down towards Bluff in a zig zag fashion, not following the Te Araroa but going the same way. We had a good chat with members of our group over the next few hours about tramps we’d done, accidents we’d heard of and things like that. I spent some time gathering a bit of wood before the forecast rain and the lads wandered around taking pictures and producing a small music video with some juggling.
It got dark about 6pm with the clouds having moved in and the rain started. It was a rather peaceful night with a warm fire keeping out the cold and no sign of the rat Adrian had seen. There were a couple of avalanches overnight, very loud long rumblings from the mountains across the valley.
We left the hut the next morning trying to keep ahead of the ominous black cloud which was snapping at our heels, promising snow and cold if we lingered too long. The walk out was as uneventful as the walk in with us reaching the car park by noon to start the drive home.
There were similar crowds at the spots covered with snow on the way back with an enterprising mobile coffee van having set up at Lake Lyndon doing a good amount of business there. As it was still quite early we stopped again at Sheffield for a second pie with the others also getting pies to go. Overall a good, easy, if short trip but it was all we could do in the time the weather allowed.
Other trip members:
Shu-i Lin (Ian)