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Introduction

I came to have a serious interest in tramping when I went to live and work in London (Britain) in 1989 at the tender age of 29. In order to get out of London and to explore my family's roots in the North of England, I started doing walks in the North. There weren't many walks in my father's birthplace (Gateshead near Newcastle-on-Tyne) but my mother was raised in the village of Frosterley in the valley of Weardale. Weardale (in the county of Durham) is a typical northern dale with farms on the valley floor and sides rising to moorland on the tops.

Staying in Frosterley for a week and doing 3 or 4 walks from the village gave me a taste of the English countryside. Back in London, I looked for guidebooks to walks and subsequently did the walks described below.

When I returned to New Zealand, I resumed tramping - firstly in the Rimutakas and lately in the Tararuas. I am now beginning to spread my wings a little with at least one trip a year further afield.

Tramping Trips since April 1998

Greenstone Track, 14-16 March, 2001

The Greenstone Track continues on from the Routeburn to cross a low saddle (you are lucky if you notice it) and wanders along a glacial valley back to Lake Wakatipu. There are a couple of lakes (Lake Howden and McKellar), lots of tussock, fine mountain ranges along the valley walls and a pretty river to follow.

Routeburn Track, 11-13 March, 2001.

The Routeburn Track is in the lower South Island of New Zealand and links 2 large National Parks - Mt. Aspiring and Fiordland - via the Harris Saddle (1,277 metres high). Glorious alpine scenery awaits you on this track along with lush beech forest, flowing rivers, high mountain lakes, fields of tussock and herbs, wonderful rock formations and lots and lots of waterfalls.

Mt. Reeves, 3-4 February 2001.

This trip was into the Tararua Forest Park from the Kaitoke entrance to Tutuwai Hut on the first day and out to the Walls Whare entrance over Mt. Reeves on the next day. I had meant to go on for 2 more days up the Waohine River to Totara Flats and then up Mt. Holdsworth. However what must have been the hottest day of the year (28°C out on the plains) got me close to heat stroke and running out of water didn't help! Contunuing on would have meant a 12 hour day at the pace I was reduced to so I hitchhiked out of the road end.
Mt. Reeves though fulfilled its promises of being a great viewpoint with wonderful visitas into the park.

Orongorongo Valley, 27-28 January 2001.

Ditto, except this time I walked out all the way down the river.

Orongorongo Valley, November 2000.

Another weekend trip into the Orongorongo Valley, Rimutaka Forest Park.

Another Six Weeks in Boston (USA) from May 2000.

Another business trip to Boston with some day trips:
Middlesex Fells - Rocks Trail.
Middlesex Fells - Crossfell Trail.
Blue Hills Reservation - Skyline Trail.
Blue Hills Reservation - Part of Skyline Trail plus some exploring.
Mt. Moosilauke in New Hampshire (4802 ft.).
Three days based in Gorham, New Hampsire doing:
Mt. Washington (6288 ft.).
Northern Presidential Range with various summit skirted around (about 5000 ft.).
A tiny portion of the Appalachian Trail north from Gorham.

8 Days, Pelorus River, Nelson (27 Dec 1999 - 3 Jan. 2000)

If you look down, you will see that my last long trip was 8 months ago! This trip was planned to get back some fitness with some options of extending it (weather and fitness allowing). It turned out to be the equivalent of a 6 day trip with a rest day and 2 very short days.
The first day was meant to be from Nelson along the Dun Mountain walkway but a late start and strenuous slog up a steep track with an 8 day pack (about 20 kg) knackered me. I ended up staying the night at Third House Shelter. Overcast and drizzly weather.
A bit of a stroll along to Dun Saddle, a detour up to the mountain top and then sidling along a ridge to Rocks Hut. It took 7.5 hours as I was still recovering from the previous day.
The longest day (10.5 hours) split into: 3 hours on an easy descent to above the Pelorus River; 2 hours on a detour down to Middy Hut (lots of sandflies!) and back; 5.5 fairly frustrating hours going upriver on an interesting but rough track to Roebuck Hut.
Rest day at Roebuck Hut.
Steepish climb for an hour onto the ridge above Roebuck Creek followed by more sidling along the slopes. Some good views down into the creek. A nasty, eroded little drop down from Totara Saddle to Browning Hut. 5.5 hours this day.
A very wet day spent climbing back to Totara Saddle and heading north along a ridge. There would have been great views in better weather. About 4 creeks in the last half hour to Rocks Hut were in massive flood - one needing a gigantic leap preceded by throwing my pack over to the other side. 6 hours taken.
More rain as I headed out on the Dun Mountain Walkway. I decided to stay in Third House Shelter again rather than look around for accommodation in Nelson.
Stroll into Nelson and back home.

Six Weeks in Boston (USA) from 13 September 1999.

For a new job, I went to Boston for six weeks to meet everyone at the new company and get a start on the work I am now doing back here in NZ. I did lots of touristy things while exploring Boston along with a couple of day hikes:
Walking around the reservoirs on Middlesex Fells.
A company hike up Mt. Monadnock (3165 ft.), just across the state border in New Hampshire.

Otaki River (Tararua Ranges), 2-5 April 1999.

I had planned to fill Easter weekend travelling up the Otaki River, crossing a saddle and then wandering down the Ohau River. I didn't quite manage the trip but had a great time regardless:
A nice 6 hours strolling up to and over Plateau to Waitewaewae Hut.
Attempted to get far enough up the Otaki to make the dash over the saddle to the Ohau River the next day, but was much too slow. 5.5 hours to a great campsite where I bivvied for the night.
It only took 4 hours to get back to the hut. Along the way I had one "mandatory" swim across a deep pool and ended the day with another freezing (but voluntary) immersion in the pool at the swingbridge just above the hut.
Another 6 hour wander out to Otaki Forks. It could have been shorter but I took the wet weather track from the hut (bad news in this direction) which added 30 minutes.
Over all a great trip, well worth repeating some time.

The Abel Tasman Coastal Track, 2-4 February 1999.

Three hot days along the coast of the Abel Tasman National Park, camping all the way. The hiking was easy (highest point 150 metres) along wide, well-graded tracks. Wonderful beaches along the way with plenty of chances for a swim.

McKerrow Track to the Orongorongo Valley, 24-25 January 1999.

A couple of nice days into the Orongorongo Valley (Rimutaka Forest Park), travelling along the high McKerrow Track on the first day and the less high (but more tiring due to a very hot day) Cattle Ridge Track on the next day. Neither track was new to me but there were a couple of surprises - the large number of windfalls along the McKerrow and the absence of a large grassy clearing with views along the Cattle Ridge Track. The second surprise I put down to a memory failure, the track being re-routed or the bush growing up in the last 4 years.

Powell Hut (Tararuas) 4-6 December 1998.

I had planned on a three day trip with the first day up to Powell Hut, the second walking along High Ridge (route only) and down to Totara Flats Hut and the last walking back up Totara Creek to the road-end. But work commitments meant that I had to try to pack it into a weekend and this proved too ambitious for my current state of fitness.
Friday evening was spent walking up to Mountain House in increasingly heavy rain. There was a tree fallen across the track that needed my pack off and a crawl through the branches. I arrived a little bit wet after nearly 2 hours and settled in for the night.
I had an early start (7 am) up the track to Powell Hut and after a slow and steady 3 hours got to the hut - another tree down over the track (easily walked around). At the hut I had an early lunch looking out at the clouds swirling past and then climbed up the rocky path to the junction with High Ridge. The weather was fairly nasty on the tops with a strong wind and sheets of rain wandering past. I walked along the ridge to the first knoll but decided to retreat to the hut in view of the weather, the very sketchy route and a decided lack of fitness.
Sunday was spent strolling back to the road-end taking the rougher alternative track from Mountain House down to the Atiwhakatu Stream (pleasant walking along a more primeval track).

Orongorongo River (Rimutakas) 18-19 September 1998.

A nice weekend trip into the Rimutaka Forest Park from the town I was raised in (Wainuiomata) to the Orongorongo River. The first day was spent walking up the old steep Whakanui Track (now a route) before joining the new track along a ridge and down into the river valley. I camped overnight by Matthews Stream, had a lazy Sunday morning and then walked out.

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