The Woolshed Wander (Part One) – Woolshed Creek Loop

“On a Mish” #233 Mt Somers / Woolshed Creek Hut Loop – Part One. Woolshed Creek Hut. Hakatere Conservation Area. 13.6.2009. Once the fire of adventure is lit it needs regular fuel. Ever since landing a job at Ultimate Hikes guiding on the Routeburn I have felt the constant need to go on missions. There is nothing that matches the satisfaction of reviewing photos after an epic. Unfortunately in Aotearoa guiding on most of our alpine hiking tracks is not an option due to heavy winter snow which creates the added risk of avalanches. If given the chance, I would guide all year round, but as this was not an option I would return to Christchurch to work at the McEwings Ski & Board Rental Shop each winter…

The excitement of getting back on my snowboard made the journey north very worthwhile, but it wouldn’t take long before the need for a hike would become overwhelming. In 2009 I was still very inexperienced in the mountains, and just starting to learn skills that can only be acquired after repetition. We have a sad history in New Zealand of fatalities in the mountains due to people taking on challenges they weren’t ready for. A perfect start to your overnight adventure career is the mission for hikers of all ages on a well formed track to the very comfortable Woolshed Creek Hut. The track to the hut is located just out of the small village of Mt Somers, and this is where I headed with the old man (Jeremy) in June of 2009. As time has gone on we are seeing less and less snow in June. It is common now for the hills around Canterbury to not receive snow until closer to July, sometimes even later.

Hiking Above the old Mining Area

After crossing the Canterbury Plains we drove into the Jig Road car park, and due to the time of the year we weren’t surprised to find it empty. After sorting out our gear an afternoon start had us charging up past the remains of the gold mining era. Old equipment and relics have been restored to their former glory and you can really see that a lot of work has gone into preserving the rich history of the mine. Above the mine the legs begin to be tested on steeper terrain. The track’s undulation kept us warm as we climbed up to the day’s high point at the trig marker on Peak 934m. From the top we could see dark clouds looming to the west and a sight like that is always enough motivation to keep you pushing on towards the hut. The trail crossed over the tops giving us excellent views of Hakatere Conservation Park. Just past the high point we caught a glimpse of the hut down in the Woolshed Creek Valley. Our hike was almost finished…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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