Edwards Valley – Tarn Col – Hawdon Valley, 22 – 24 October 2016
Five of us set out on this trip with an unusual addition – a push bike. Driving up to Arthurs Pass we stopped off at the Hawdon Shelter, unloaded the bike which was securely padlocked to a tree, then continued driving until we reached the Bealey rail bridge. Then on with packs, immediate river crossings, so we had nice wet feet to start the trip. There is a proper track up the Edwards River, but it has deteriorated in recent times, so the five hour gradual ascent up to the hut was more difficult than expected. Unexpectedly we all had bunks for the night, unusual for this long weekend.
The next morning we tramped up to the head of the valley, no tracks up here and multiple river crossings, and we reached Taruahuna Pass after three hours. The pass is a real jumble of boulders, a relic of the 1929 earthquake when a whole mountain fell apart, but the weather was good and we could clearly see over to our next objective, Tarn Col.
This was quite tricky going. Initially one follows a stream, which becomes a waterfall, then one sidles across steep slopes grabbing hold of tussocks for support. We picked up a couple of overseas trampers here who were completely mystified on how to negotiate this route. Eventually we reached the top, and yes, there is a sizeable tarn there. A good rest stop and more extensive views.
From here we picked up a track which follows down a long gorge and into the Otakahe River which we followed for some distance before climbing again, this time over Walker Pass.
This was followed by a traverse over a very wet plateau and down into the Hawdon River, and a nice new uncrowded hut awaited us. A very satisfying day, it took us nine hours but we were blessed with fine weather.
Again, we had bunks for the night, surprising because this hut gets a lot of use. Some of our fellow hut occupants were doing the same trip and had transport arranged, so our driver, Russell, went out with them early next morning, picked the car up at Bealey, and was awaiting for the rest of us when we arrived at the shelter, thus no need for the bike. A great trip. Participants were Russell, Catherine, Martin, Robert and Dorothy