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NORTH  TEMPLE                                                                                                                                                Sunday 12th October

Sunday October 12th saw seven keen trampers meet at the stadium 6:55 am.  Heading west another joined us at Kimbell.  Sunshine and blue skies accompanied us across the Mackenzie Plain.  A right turn past Lake Ruataniwha took us along the south side of Lake Ohau then beyond it we crossed Temple Stream.  A short distance up Temple Valley we came to a car park 213 km from our starting point.  The day was warm and clear as we lifted our packs and started out by crossing North Temple Stream where a swing bridge once was.  Entering Beech forest on the south bank we soon found a well-worn, moss bordered, track which we followed up valley through forest and scrub with stretches of boulder strewn, shingle riverbed and lots of side streams to cross.  There were signs of cattle in the lower valley but a few friendly tom-tits and a pair of paradise ducks were the only wildlife we saw.  Recent strong winds had brought down several large trees across the track.

After almost three hours walking we emerged from trees into a broad cirque.  Ahead of us stood an impressive, tall and rugged rock-face lined with numerous white streams of melted snow rushing downwards, carving grooves and plunging over precipices as they went.  This mighty wall curving around to our right and left was topped with magnificent snow clad peaks reaching up into the bright blue dome above.    Entering this great basin floored with tussocks and alive with gurgling streams, we collapsed onto a tussock bank to enjoy lunch and a lie in the sun amidst mountain splendour.   

Reluctantly leaving, more than an hour later to retrace our steps downstream.  Cameras recorded a huge wall of eroding shingle gradually undermining an ancient beech forest far above us.  A pleasant coffee stop was had at Ohau Lodge on the way home, arriving back in Timaru about 8:00 pm.  Thanks to David for arranging and leading a great trip.  Others taking part were Christine, Hazel, Katherine, Louise, Barry, Ross and I. Neville  G.