Heaphy Track Day 3

December 4th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The weather for the first two days had been great. Overcast, but only scattered showers. Meant you didn’t get too hot. But day 3 on Saturday was a different matter. How best to describe Saturday morning weather’s?

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One of the girls asked the DOC ranger what it would cost to get a helicopter out, and the DOC ranger said there was no way a helicopter could land in this weather. It was raining hard, and low visibility. That made us wonder why we were going out in weather that was unsafe for helicopters.

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We had 12.5 kms to travel to get down to Lewis Hut, which they estimate normally takes three and a half hours. The weather was so miserable that I decided to try and shorten the time and see if I could jog it. I managed to do the 12.5 kms in one hour 40 minutes, which was pretty good going considering I had a full pack on my back, I was in tramping boots and it was pissing down with rain. A group of Aussies I passed said they had never seen someone running along with pack bouncing, and poles flying.

Once I got to Lewis Hut, I left my pack there and went back to let the rest of our party know how far away they were and give those with blisters a help with their packs. So I ended up doing an extra 7 kms or so.

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This is the last photo I took on my camera. It died after this from water getting into it. I only took three quick photos in the rain with it, but that was enough for it to get soaked. All photos after this are from my iPhone or Tracey’s camera.

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After we dried out in Lewis Hut and had lunch, the weather cleared and we started the afternoon trek of 8 kms to Heaphy Hut. Very flat and nice.  A large bridge across the river,

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A photo from the morning of the Heaphy River from above.

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There were some huge trees in the bush.

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Again I loved the variety of bush and colour.

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One nice thing about the rain, is everything looks greener when wet!

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One of the darker areas.

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Scott taking a break with the Heaphy River behind him.

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The bush opens up towards the end.

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Those 1 km to go markers are so welcome you want to hug them. It can be really hard judging how much further you have to go. I would wan’t distance markers every km or so, but a halfway marker between huts would be a great idea as that would allow you to orientate yourself better.

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A West Coast snail!

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A great view to emerge to, of the Heaphy River joining the Tasman Sea.

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The view from the Heaphy Hut.

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I loved the Heaphy Hut. Built just this year and the location is superb, as is the hut. would be very keen to go back in at some stage just to spend a couple of nights in the Heaphy Hut and do some day walks.

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Scott and I thanking Nick Smith for the nice hut :-)

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Again, this is so lovely for a back country hut.

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Went down to the beach as it had mobile coverage, so I could rearrange the pick up for tomorrow. These birds are very territorial and fly directly at you swooping around your head.

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The beach with the hut in the background.

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Preparing dinner for day 3.

Despite getting drowned in the morning, was an excellent day. We had no whiskey left by now, so played 500 instead. By this stage we had tramped over 60 kms.

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14 Responses to “Heaphy Track Day 3”

  1. thedavincimode (6,133 comments) says:

    Three days now and not a bottle in sight. Walking this far for 3 days without the benefit of a cooling libation does not make sense.

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  2. alex Masterley (1,439 comments) says:

    It does rain on the coast. Heavily.

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  3. MH (558 comments) says:

    total costs to be kitted out and how good was your raingear?

    [DPF: Not been tramping for 20 years so had to buy all the gear. Probably $2,000 or so but I went good quality stuff (and it was worth it) and planning three tramps a year so should work out at under $100 a tramp.]

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  4. Colville (1,780 comments) says:

    My Son and I walked Gouland Downs to Heaphy in a day which was I think around 40 kms as there was a massive incomming storm which could have made the Lewis to Heaphy trarck along the river impassable.
    My Son suffered (badly) from near bleeding bollocks from chaffing. Poor dear. He still gets shit about that :-)

    MH. Heaphy track is a cakewalk. You can do it in running shoes if you want, huts are very close together so you can bail out to saftey at any stage if the weather turns to sh*t so you really dont need A+ weather gear. Sandfly repelent YES tho.

    Met a young (very tidy and fit :-) )Lady who worked moving cars from one end to the other ot the track with her Father. She regularly “walked” the track in a day and a half, but fit as.

    I want in the future to do the Leslie river from the Cobb Valley and Heaphy return for a 10 day round trip with a days refresment in Karemea in between. My parents did the same trip I think in 1974.

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  5. Tauhei Notts (1,512 comments) says:

    Useless information.
    The Heaphy River was named after a 19th century explorer, Charles Heaphy.
    Next February will be the 150th anniversary of his award of the Victoria Cross for bravery against rebellious people, on the banks of the Mangapiko River near Pirongia. I think that Pirongia was, at that time, known as Alexandra.
    It was one of the very few Victoria Crosses awarded for bravery in New Zealand.
    I imagine that if Heaphy was of the same ethnic origin as those rebellious people, the 150th anniversary would be celebrated with some fanfare.

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  6. Ed Snack (1,540 comments) says:

    That’s pretty good going to run that distance. I’ve tried that so I could go back and help family (on the Milford last year !) but it seemed a bit pointless in the end as by the time you get back they haven’t got far to go and “want to do the last bit on my own thank you very much !”

    On wet weather gear, I found a cheap “emergency” poncho was a great addition as long as it wasn’t too windy. Put it on over the top of you and your pack (they’re usually bloody huge tent like things) and what ever the let in is easily defeated by your wet weather gear. Drawbacks, it can be too hot, or if it is really windy (like our Milford day 3 across the pass in driving rain) it is impossible to keep it covering much.

    But the best (and bloody obvious) advice is to use a good waterproof pack liner, on one trip there was one poor woman who had been persuaded that her pack was “waterproof enough”, and suffice it to say that it wasn’t, and a wet sleeping bag takes a long time to dry.

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  7. iMP (2,154 comments) says:

    Rubbish bag = pack liner. 50c vs Katmandu $40.

    Most serious trampers I know tramp in shorts and wear wool. It doesn’t matter that much if you get wet.

    Trying anally to stay dry on a NZ tramp is like trying to avoid dairy products in a Fonterra factory.

    OR folk music at a Greens conference.

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  8. wreck1080 (3,533 comments) says:

    “That made us wonder why we were going out in weather that was unsafe for helicopters”

    I guess because you are not a helicopter?

    Enjoyable posts, now I don’t need to do it :)

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  9. trout (866 comments) says:

    Forget wool (unless it is the Swandri felted variety or perhaps Icebreaker) and down; impossible to dry when wet. (And of course cotton as in T shirts is very cold if wet). Polyprop is the go for clothing and ‘hollowfill’ is the best for jackets (and sleeping bags) where they are likely to get wet. Parkas are a whole different story; I have tried most fabric types and found most to be wanting. Forget ‘breathability’; it counts for nothing in NZ rain conditions but adds to the price. I now use a flexothane parka by Oringi; strong, waterproof, and half the price of Gortex.

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  10. Colville (1,780 comments) says:

    Ok now this has morphed into a gear tech nerd thread…

    Pox on hollow fill…bulky and heavy.
    Down bag. Small light and far warmer. Just dont get it wet. Plenty of ways to keep it dry. Who wants to sleep in a wet bag?
    Merino is comfy and warm when wet. But heavy. But it dont stink like polyprop after a few days.
    I hunt so I tend to use poly as you cant get merino in camo :-)
    Rain coat. You must have a full monty gortex coat. They cost $$$$$ and are heavy but you cant go without it unless you are only going to walk in summer. You can sleep in a good coat overnight and you wont die.
    Boots. Spend LOTS. You wont ever regret good footwear. Look after them and they will last.
    Gaiters. None of DPFs pafrty were wearing them but if you walk on a muddy track or in a stream they are life savers. Then you can wear shorts too.
    Then there are PLBs, GPS, first aid, stoves, light, head torches and if you hunt GUNS :-)
    Oh and a pack :-)

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  11. Kea (10,467 comments) says:

    I managed to do the 12.5 kms in one hour 40 minutes, which was pretty good going considering I had a full pack on my back, I was in tramping boots and it was pissing down with rain.

    Dave should try out for the SAS at this rate.

    Pretty good going especially for a guy who used to be a bit chubby.

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  12. Colville (1,780 comments) says:

    Kea.
    Dave may not be quite Wille Apiata just yet .
    From memory the track to Lewis hut drops down around 2000 feet in altitude.
    It would be quite different running the other way :-)

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  13. Kea (10,467 comments) says:

    Colville, still bloody good going.

    Funny how trampers worry about getting wet. This is a typical hunt on the West Coast.

    1. Get out the car into the wet rain.

    2. Step into the wet river.

    3. Walk on the wet track.

    4. Push through the wet bush.

    5. Shoot a wet animal.

    6. Pitch a wet tent.

    7. Sleep in a damp sleeping bag.

    8. Repeat as required.

    Even on the days it does not rain, the bush is usually wet and you can’t walk anywhere without crossing a river or stream. :)

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  14. Colville (1,780 comments) says:

    Kea Too true. After a week of that it’s only the mould holding all your gear together :-)

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