Lake Christabel Circuit 23-25 September 2017
Christine’s notice said three 6-7 hour reasonably big days so good fitness required…’. With earlier snow falls, windfalls and a forecast wet day 3 for a 69 year old this proved to be an understatement!
Wayne Cassidy picked up Christine M, Wayne K, John H, and Jim P on the Friday afternoon and we reached Springs Junction about 9.30pm to stay in the simple motel behind the Cafe – open 24/7 since the Kaikoura earthquake.
A bike was left at the far end of Palmers Rd and we started walking into Lake Christabel at 8.30am. Plenty of birdsong, 5 kakas, great lake views, reasonable track and we reached the standard 8 bunk hut at5.30pm. Excellent meals from Christine, a sleep in for Wayne C and we left just before 7am. Clear but ‘slowish’ track to the bushline where we met a metre of snow in a ‘stable avalanche chute’. The track was washed out in parts as we climbed further up through scrub and snow to the 1300m saddle with 3 hours in 60cm snow to “summit” at 1450m before a steep 700m descent to the Top Robinson hut – the hut book went back to 1993 and 3 wire bridges confirmed we were on a ‘track less travelled’ – another5.30pm arrival at a very welcome hut.
Day 3 underway at 7.15am with the forecast rain plus thunder and lightning! Many high water detours as the Robinson River was ‘angry’ and we could hear boulders rolling down. Side streams also high but ok with careful group crossings. Lunch and a brew at Mid Robinson hut before leaving at 2pm for Palmers Rd. Slow progress continues with the main river and side streams still high – plus a few windfalls! Crossed over the Robinson River bridge just on dark and were very pleased to have both Waynes guide us via deer tracks onto the main track in the dark.
Reached road end at 10pm and walked down road to keep warm while Wayne C biked back to collect the car. About midnight when we got to Springs Junction Cafe again – good coffee and chips but accommodation full with truckies – so Wayne C drove us back to Timaru with a 6am breakfast at Macca’s in Rolleston…NZ still not clear about election outcome…
All in all a tough character building weekend ! Thanks Christine for planning the ‘adventure’ and to the TEAM for supporting each other, Jim