The distance to travel meant that an early morning start was required if we were to enjoy a leisurely tramp into the Carroll Hut West of Otira over the weekend. This was achieved when Bruce picked me up at the agreed time of 0615 then it was on to pick up the rest of our tramping party. Although the weather predictions were not promising for this tramp, our group was still very enthusiastic as we pressed on towards our destination via the short cut coming out onto State Highway 82 at Lake Lyndon. Then onto the Arthurs Pass National Park wondering if by an ounce of luck there might be an improvement in the weather on the western side of the Southern Alps. It’s fair to say there was an improvement as we progressed west.
Arriving at Arthurs pass we made a visit to the information centre there followed by a call to the local café, and then we pressed on over the Pass and the Otira Gorge. It was shortly after this we were to park up at Kelly’s Creek and before long we were on our way onward and upward towards the open alpine scrub and tussock lands above the bush line. The only hiccup was when we briefly lost the track but this was soon rectified to our relief. Continuing on from where we left off we soon reached our destination the Carroll Hut where we were staying the night. At this point the rain began to fall on and off but still not as bad as it was in the East though.
What a sight it was after leaving the bush to see the golden tussock in front of us knowing that the hardest work had been done with the Carroll hut in sight so we knew we had achieved our goal. The open tops were amazing with wonderful rock formations and alpine flora in abundance, even some deer signs signalling to us that we weren’t alone in this beautiful place.
After a lunch break at the Carroll Hut we ventured off exploring the surrounding area, coming across dry tarns telling us that the drought conditions had even reached these remote areas. There was an excellent panoramic view of the Otira and Taramakau rivers with the Harper Pass in the far distance.