Beyond the Hut (Part Two) – Hut Spur Camp / Climb

“On a Mish” #34 Beyond the Hut – Part Two. Hut Spur(Point 1581m). Craigieburn Forest Park. 21.6.2017. We are lucky here in Nz because we have hikes for all abilities. The easy walks are usually busy during the summer with hikers from all over the globe enjoying the views on one of our countless mountain trails. For those ready to put in a little bit more effort, there is a wild world of untouched wilderness waiting to be looked at, you have just got to get yourself and your camping gear there!

The night on Hut Spur was still and the air was crisp and chilly, so maintaining the fire was a good way to fight off the cold and delay the inevitable retreat to the warmth of my sleeping bag and tent. The sights and sounds of a human visitor to the mountain ridge got the attention of some of the locals, and during the evening I was joined by a lone Kea who was happy to hop around my camp inspecting my setup. I was nervous that he would damage my gear, but he seemed quite happy having a look at what I was up to.

From my elevated campsite I could hear the trains making their way up and down the Waimakariri Valley to and from Arthurs Pass Village and the Otira Tunnel on the very still early winter night. I woke early-ish the next morning in an ice crystal-covered frozen tent (inside & out!), and it was difficult to drag myself out into the frosty morning air. Once up, and after a couple of recharging hot coffees, I was ready to climb up to, and then travel along, the Hut Spur ridge to Point 1581m. The rocky tops were easy to follow along and I enjoyed the undulation and exposure of the upper reaches of the ridge.

The views of the wide Waimakariri Valley were very epic and kept me pushing on towards my target. I could see the valley was thick with a bright white frost due to the cold winter morning and this made me thankful for my modern warm clothing. I continued south west to the high point of the mission at the summit of 1581m, and with bluebird clear skies I took in the glorious mountainous spectacle I had got myself to. Mt Murchison(2408m) and the Shaler Range looked very impressive with the sparkle of the many glaciers standing out against the blue sky backdrop.

After getting a good dose of awesome I returned back down to camp to see my new Kea friend had guarded my gear instead of destroying it, so I thanked the little fella and then began packing up my camp. As I made my way back down the track I could see that everything in the shade was frozen solid, and this included the tarns (small lakes) that are dotted throughout the area. It was only when I got close to my car that I finally felt the warmth of the sun on my face, a real treat on a winter morning in the mountains. As I got even closer I could see the windows were still thick with frost and I wouldn’t be going anywhere for a while! I loaded my gear and took off my boots as the car slowly melted the ice on the windows and now it was time to start reflecting on my epic outing up the spur. The mission was an incredible time out above the treeline and it was exactly what I am after when I go out for an adventure. After getting all the ice off my windows I could finally drive and I was back in Christchurch in no time, very satisfied with another successful mish done and dusted!!

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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