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Waipawa tracks

A report from the Heretaunga Tramping Club on their track cutting exploits. The club were also successful in a funding application in round 3 to do maitainence work on their Waikamaka Hut…

Waipawa River Track Cutting Working Party                                           14 June 2015

The club have been improving this track to Waikamaka Hut for some years now. Each party improves the overall standard of this route mainly on the true left bank of the Waipawa River upstream from the stream draining Te Atuaoparara.

waipawa

On Sunday eight of us went over to the river via the saddle on the Sunrise Track, which was a very wise decision, carrying an assortment of tools. The Waipawa was carrying quite a flow and moving at a rapid clip. Unfortunately the sunshine on the coast did not reach us and we had high winds and drizzle all day. It was not the ideal working party conditions especially for the Anne & Andy who went up to work  down hill and battled the conditions all the way.

Our busy team have improved the track considerably and are to be commended for their efforts. We returned via the Sunrise Track. Thank you to all who came.

We had left our vehicles at 9 am and returned back to them 8 hours later.

Party: Anne Cantrick, Randall Goldfinch, Margaret Graham, Glenda Hooper, Shayna Ward, Roy Frost, Andy Fowler, Graeme Hare.

EXTRACTS  FROM CLUB MINUTES   of 11 Feb 2015

  • A party of 5 spent 8 hours working on the Parks Peak Track to Barlows Track, clearing branches and buddleia and adding markers when necessary. In general the track was in good condition. Distance to be claimed is 180 km. Glenda to find out whether we should pay DOC the hut fees and then claim them back or whether this could be a journal transaction.
  • John and Janice slashed and marked the track up the Waipawa River while enroute to their hut maintenance at Waikamaka. As this was a combined track maintenance and hut maintenance trip (and we can only claim for the track part from the fund) we will just claim for the distance (2 people 180 km) and not the accommodation. More work is needed on this track before Winter.

Top Trent Hut

One of the best reports to date for getting down into the nitty gritty of what is involved in the hands on work of hut maintenance is that from Permolat’s Paul Reid on their restoration of Top Trent Hut. The link at the bottom takes you to the full pdf of the report…

Location

Inland from Greymouth on the West Coast at an altitude of 865m. Top Trent (Lagoon) Hut is located in the head waters of the Trent River, a tributary of the Tutaekuri & Ahaura Rivers respectively. The hut sits on the TR of the valley just above a large shallow tarn, probably the “Lagoon” from which the hut derives its name. A female & male Kiwi were heard calling upon dusk both nights. The bush around the hut is montane forest with a lot of big old broadleafs, mountain holly, pink pine & pahautea (mountain cedar). The hut book goes back to 1992 & averages around three entries per year, a ratio of one fly-in to every two foot parties. There was only one visitor in 2011 & in 2012 there were no overnight stays. 2013 saw a couple of visits & both 2014 & 2015 has seen numbers swell to 5+ visitors annually. The hut is surrounded by the tall picturesque peaks of Mt Dixon & Wilson to the south & Mt Elizabeth & Monotis to the north & the area has a remote feel to it.

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Type

Top Trent (Lagoon) Hut is an NZFS S81, four-bunk design built in 1960. Peter Robins recalls walking up there to replace the then-rusting fireplace around 1965, however both the fireplace & chimney have been removed since. The bunks are wire netting on wooden frames & there are 4 mattresses. The hut is lined & there is a narrow sky light on the south side of the hut. There is no toilet & water is from a small creek 30m behind the hut up the Mt. Dixon tops track. The hut has an interesting welcome sign on its outside wall, taken from a line from Dante’s “Divine Comedy”.

Condition

Top Trent (Lagoon) Hut was in an ‘ok’, mostly solid & sound condition before our intervention. In 2003 DOC repainted it inside & out, put some bracing between piles & bearers, replaced a pile & dug a drain across the grass area in front of the hut door.

A mid-winter reconnaissance trip by Martin, Kerry & Jan Clapham identified delaminated & bubbling ceiling & wall ply, a few more dodgy piles, rotten studs, a door that does not fully close, rusted & popped lead-head nails, a brittle skylight & window sills in need of some TLC. Our plan was to attend to & rectify as much of these identified issues as possible.

Maintenance Status

Top Trent (Lagoon) Hut is designated as minimal maintenance. Having received funding from the High Country Consortium for the project, DOC kindly back-loaded building materials to the site in March 2015 in readiness for a future working party. This past September, 8 members of the Permolat group, led by Paul Reid conducted a major working trip into the hut. The tracked & poled route to the hut over Trent Saddle from the Haupiri valley remains fully maintained & an earlier reconnaissance trip found this to be in generally good order. Access from Mid Trent Hut up river is untracked apart from a short section providing access from the river bed to Top Trent (Lagoon) Hut.

Worked Completed

Over the space of 3 fantastic days the hut was a hive of activity with the demolition & then resurrection of parts of the hut. The industrial sounds of sawing, hammering & the banging of nails over-shadowed the songs & calls of the birds in the nearby bush as men & women alike, sweated & toiled in the sun.

The working party replaced three piles, including a pile that was effectively doing absolutely nothing to support the hut as the bearer above it was non-existent. It gives new meaning to a ‘dozy’ pile. The 3 piles were replaced with 125 x 125mm H5 treated piles & concreted into place. The ‘absent’ section of bearer was replaced & braced….to read more click here

Centennial Hut

Centennial Hut Maintenance Report

Max and Dick spent a most rewarding and sometimes exhausting week undertaking the following work as volunteers of NZAC from 9th to the 16th of March 2015, as well as three weeks of preparation.

door

We : Replaced all windows with 6 mm toughened glass all through, except the wardens room. Installed and reinforced the downpipe for water collection and fitted a tap to the tank.  Strengthened and repaired deck, and placed chequer plates for crampon use. Shifted the urinal. Removed 400+ kg of refuse, (carried to a safe spot and airlifted to Franz Josef.)    Upgraded to LED lighting and replaced the battery. Renovated the main entrance door. Rubber seals and home engineered locking  device installed, allowing the door to open either as single  or as stable door, without the possibility of being locked in or out. The homemade deck bench was donated to savour one of the best views in the world. (Intended to be stored in the boot room). Three fixed and one opening window panels (6 mm toughened) are stored in the wardens room along with the appropriate seal, should a replacement be needed and Max has kept a record of glass sizes, including the wardens’ room ones.

Future useful projects : Create a second landing platform for incoming dunny drums to assist in the changeover. Replace warden’s room glass with a 10 mm glass, and eliminate the shutter. Replace waste water try for more hygiene. Paint steel work with 3 coats of two pot marine Altex paint. Wash down ceiling with a special marine wash. Replace inner door lock. Install two small down lights over table, and in boot room. Source access key and connect switches behind control board. Fasten a flashing to protect downpipe. All of these projects could still be achieved this season if there was an interest and additional funding.

  Max Dorfliger  &  Dick Brasier                       

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Queenstown’s Missing Link Track

Trailfund NZ has been able to support the Queenstown Mountain Bike Clubs development of their trail network. Not many work parties have a view quite as good as that!

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Alexandra Mountain Bike Trails

Alexandra’s new gold

Tussock, thyme, towering barren hills and an arid climate set Alexandra apart from most of New Zealand, but there’s more than landscape in this Central Otago town. Founded in the 1860s by gold seekers who delved into the rock to find their fortune, the Mountain Bikers of Alexandra are crafting their own treasure – a network of unique and stunning trails – by carving into the same rock.

Alexandra

Thanks to some support from Trail Fund NZ through the Outdoor Consortium Fund, the club recently improved two existing trails on Flat Top Hill, an 813-hectare conservation area aptly named for its miniature block mountain shape.

“Although Alexandra has an extensive network of quality trails, most are on private land where biking is tolerated but not guaranteed and no signage is allowed,” says Mountain Bikers of Alexandra (MOA) member and keen track builder Dave Fearnley. “This makes it hard for visitors, and even some locals, to take advantage of them.”

Keen to develop tracks in a more accessible mountain biking area, MOA approached the Department of Conservation about improving existing tracks in the Flat Top Hill area.

“Mountain bikers have used the area sporadically, using retired vehicle access roads as tracks,” says Dave. “However, due to the many steep, fall-line sections – which are impossible to ride up and unrewarding to ride down – it’s never been popular.”

With the creation of the Roxburgh Gorge Cycleway in 2013, MOA saw the opportunity to increase Alexandra’s biking options and approached DOC about building mountain bike-friendly tracks in the conservation area. An agreement was signed in August 2014 and local trail builders have been hard at work since then.

“We’ve built 2.5km of new track needed to complete a 12km Grade 3 loop track and re-worked multiple sections of the pre-existing tracks  –  both in the loop and the Grade 5 ‘Rock of Doom’ connection to the Roxburgh Gorge Cycleway,” says David.

He and MOA member Phil Oliver led the charge. Using a lawn mower to mark the initial trail and loosen the stubborn thyme bushes that cover the hills, they followed it up by hand.

“With steep terrain, layers of rock and rare native bushes to navigate, building the new uphill section – to avoid the steep and painful existing one – was fairly challenging and took us about a month to complete,” says Dave. “However, we’ve had a number of volunteers come out to help and, at one work party, we had 24 people turn up!”

The yet-to-be-named 12km loop is fairly narrow singletrack, with tight rocky switchbacks to negotiate and some steep sections that pry you out of the saddle. However, the climb is well worth the expansive views of Central Otago and, for those who love a challenge, the 2km Rock of Doom descent tests technical and mental capacity.

Riding as much rock as dirt, Dave and Phil scoured the area for months before deciding which routes to include, and the result is a challenging yet rideable and exhilarating ride.

“There are A and B lines the whole way down so, if you want to roll everything you can, and if you want to launch everything, you can,” says Dave, who’s been scouring Alexandra hillsides for sweet rock lines, and incorporating them into trails, since he moved there in 2003.

He says that proper signage is still on the way, and visiting mountain bikers should make sure to check it out.

Local mountain biker Geoff Campbell is pleased to see the trail development taking place.

“While the Rock of Doom isn’t on my to-do list yet, it’s great to see the club building intermediate singletrack – appropriate for weekend warrior-type riders – in such an accessible and appealing area.”

 

Eade Memorial Hut

Check out these great photos from the NZDA South Canterbury Branch of their recent maintenance of Eade Memorial Hut in the Godley

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Red Stag Hut

With our recent funding application to the ORC Huts and Tracks fund approved, it was time to begin work improving Red Stag hut, in the Godley Valley. Behind the scenes work from a number of South Canterbury branch members on drawing the application and arranging the materials needed meant that we had everything on hand ready to begin the work.

The date was set a week in advance, but we had bad news just a few days prior that the contractor who was to dig the pit and build the platform for the new composting toilet was unable to make it. However David Keen, Steve Ludwig and myself decided to make the trip anyway as there was still enough work to be done.

I was looking forward to my first visit to Red Stag hut, so I didn’t mind the early start which saw us across the Macaulay River by 8:30am. The bumpy cruise up the riverbed track was broken by a couple of short glassing sessions in case any Tahr were nearby. Less than 5 minutes after we first started looking, Dave’s claim of spotting one was met with skeptical comments until he set up the spotting scope and proved it to us, with a young bull confirmed around 2km distant and a long way above the valley floor. Safe for today

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Shortly before reaching the hut, we met a couple of trucks coming down-valley. Branch member Wayne Cassidy, one of the hut custodians, had been spending the week at the hut with a couple of mates, and today being the first day without rain they had jumped at the chance to get outside and look for a tahr. After a short chat Wayne pointed his guests in the right direction and lead us back to the hut where we all got straight to work.

A couple of us began cutting brackets and installing the solar panel while the others fitted the LED lights inside the hut and ran wiring. The brightness of these lights is more than adequate and makes the hut so much more welcoming. After this, we spent some time realigning the current toilet which was in a sorry state and had become offset from the hole after careless hut users had reversed into it. The new fibreglass toilet was then secured between some of the many large rocks nearby, safe for a later date when it could be completed. Wayne had towed a trailer up the valley with him, carrying the new toilet and some DoC-supplied fireproof mattresses for the hut. Throughout the bad weather during the week, he had spent a lot of time cleaning and tidying up much of the hut and his efforts showed.

Our tasks were completed around 4pm and while some thought was then given to a short hunt up the hill, the strong nor-west and imposing clouds that had arrived scuttled that idea and instead we settled in to the warmth of the hut for the evening. Wayne’s guests arrived back shortly after, having sighted a few nannies, but with a steep gully in between they had elected not to take the shot. A light snow began to fall outside about this point but did nothing to chill the pleasant evening inside.

The next morning a couple of centimetres of snow lay on the ground, as we quickly packed and made our uneventful departure, following through on our intention to be back in town by lunchtime.

As a first-time visitor to Red Stag hut, it was readily apparent the immense amount of work that has gone into building and maintaining the facilities there, particularly with the recent expansion and tidy-up. The Hut is comfortable inside and boasts a great view, making it a place I would look forward to visiting many more times.

Just a few weeks later I received a call from Dave mid-morning. “How busy are you tomorrow?”

“I could probably sneak away, what’s up?”

“Been in touch with the contractor and it’s all go for Red Stag. Up and back tomorrow. Give Jim a bell to book a seat”

Jim Kroening, another branch committee member and fellow builder to Dave, had made a trip up to Red Stag shortly after our first visit, his task then being to build a stand and fit the new water tanks provided by DoC Twizel.

The schedule was set and the next morning Jim, along with Allan Thompson, picked me up. Allan is one of our branch patrons and has a long history with Red Stag hut, having invested a great amount of sweat and effort into improving and maintaining the hut over decades passed.

Much of the drive was spent discussing the weather forecast, which projected heavy snow as low as 500m altitude throughout the day. With the hut at 990m elevation, this was a concern.

A short hop up the road and we climbed into Dave’s truck to complete the journey to the Macaulay river. Wayne had met the contractor Clinton O’Brien, (who was towing a 1.4ton mini-digger) a little earlier and begun heading up the valley shortly before us. The river was a breeze to cross, being much lower than either of the previous trips undertaken by ourselves and Jim, however within 10 minutes of reaching the far bank and turning up the Godley, a light snow began to fall. We caught up with the others shortly after and the rest of the journey was uneventful, although a wary eye was kept on the ever-falling snow, which had begun to settle evenly by the time we pulled up to the hut.

Well aware time was a priority, jackets were thrown on and everyone got to work. The digger rolled off the trailer and began to scrape a hole out of the rocky moraine while the others rapidly turned a trailer full of timber into a solid partitioned framework for the composting toilet. Perhaps not as rapidly as they may have liked due to the biting cold rendering the gas in the nailguns useless! The battered old long-drop was detached from the anchor wires and loaded onto the trailer for the return journey and disposal, while the pit was safely filled in as the new setup would provide a more permanent option.

Throughout this time the snow had continued to rapidly fall and was building up against the hut, vehicles, and anybody that stood still too long. A ruler placed on the picnic table showed the depth increasing at around an inch per half hour which was enough to cause concern, but we knew the job was nearly finished so it was all hands on deck for the final task. With the hole now complete we hauled the heavy framework into position before lowering it into the pit and beginning construction of the top platform, while the digger returned to work building a berm against the sides of the frame. The new fibreglass toilet was fetched and fitted to the top of the platform before being anchored down securely. Time to load the vehicles and go!

Dave and I had both set our handheld GPS units recording the track before we left the public road, which we were about to become very grateful for as the track and riverbed were now completely buried in greater than nine inches of snow. With near white-out conditions there was little we could do but read the course off the small screens, giving basic corrections where possible while keeping an eye out for any visible boulders. Hopefully the two vehicles following in our wheel-tracks had an easier time of it. We continued to crawl our way down the valley, stopping many times at banks to kick snow away until we could find just where the track cut through, or if we were on it at all! On a few occasions large rocks and slick snow attempted to defeat our progress, but some careful and other not-so careful manoeuvring allowed us to pass the obstacles and continue down the valley.

After almost an hour of this near-blind driving, the track began to show itself as a pair of shallow indents on the surface of the snow which allowed us to pick up the pace. This was to the relief of us all, especially Dave who had done a great job safely leading the convoy. It continued to snow heavily the rest of the trip down-valley, but eventually began to thin out as we reached Lilybank and safely crossed the Macaulay again, heading for home.

Huge thanks to everyone involved or contributing for their hard work.

 

Minchin Biv

Project Name: Minchin Biv

Project Leader:Roger Woods

Brief description of project :

Over the 21st til the 23rd of February, 2016, a team of three went into Minchin Biv to restore the hut, which had become very dilapidated.

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The crew was Myself, Colin Morris, and Liz Weir.

We flew in with Ahaura helicopters on the Sunday morning.

This became a bit of a mission as the weather started to close in during the first flight. This meant that a very large detour was taken right up the Taramakau river, over Harpers pass, across into the Hurunui South branch, and then across the tops, the Cox, into the Poulter, and up to Minchin Biv.

We had three loads to do, and if we had known in advance how much bigger a flight this was going to be we would have rescheduled, but once the first team was in it was too late to do this.

The work window which we had hoped for was three nights, four days, but with the very late start, and an early departure due to the changed forecast, we had to complete the works in two nights, two and a half days – quite tight.

Sunday afternoon we stripped the old iron off the bivvy. This was still in good condition, and we primed the inside laps ready for when it was to go back on.

We removed all framing down to the floor level, as it was in very bad condition. The piling, sub-floor, and flooring were in good condition and we were able to leave that.

Monday – a long day. We were able to construct the new frame, to match the old, and so the old iron would fit. This was all in H3 grade timber. We completed this, covered it with building wrap, then replaced the iron. The iron was refixed using hex screws, with a squeeze of silicone sealant in each screw hole before screwing.

Laps and joins in the iron were siliconed underneath before screwing.

The weather was good and we were able to do an initial coat of paint.

Tuesday we were able to do two more coats of paint.

A new door was installed. A bench was fitted, with a stainless steel cooking area. The bunks were repaired and replaced. We lined the inside with 6mm H3 treated plywood. One of the wind stays which had broken was replaced.

A vent was installed in the floor under the bunk.

The helicopter came in at about 4pm so we finished then.

The biv is now in very good condition. The new screws, sealant, and paint should ensure it is waterproof for quite some time.

The internal ply has braced the biv considerably, and the new bench allows for cooking, with some gear storage below.

Things still to do:

Colin and I will bike in shortly to tidy a couple of things that we ran out of time to do.

  • Install stainless steel backplate on cooking area
  • Attach one stay (not broken, but missing attachment bolt)
  • Paint lining
  • Add final vent pipe

This will not involve further funds.

South Huxley Biv

Say it on one slide! One of the first Outdoor Recreation Consortium projects to be completed was Rob Brown and friends fix-up of the South Huxley Biv.

South Huxley Slide

Flora Hut

Project Report: Renovation of Flora Hut

Brief description of work:

Over several weekends March – April 2015, Nelson Tramping Club volunteers completed the following schedule of work on Flora hut, Kahurangi National Park.

  • Repairs to both chimneys and lining both fireplaces with fire bricks;
  • Lining of central firewood compartment with heavy duty plywood, including removing and replacing of the substantial quantity of firewood;
  • Painting of exterior cladding, windows and other wood work, including preparation and priming. Paint was in classic colours (cream with maroon windows and trim);
  • Lining of the ceiling in E-bunkroom with plywood, including insulation (polystyrene);
  • Lining of the walls in E-bunkroom with plywood;
  • General tidy up of vegetation and drains around the hut.

The work was completed in the style and to the standard specified by DOC for this historic hut. This substantially increased the work load, especially for the interior. This renovation work for 2015 was phase 2 of a project begun in 2013 with the renovation and painting of the roof by NTC members. It is intended that the renovation will be completed by NTC in 2016 with phase 3 involving lining of the W-bunkroom, painting of both interiors and erection of information boards that cover the history of the hut, local geology, flora & fauna, and a memorial to Ruth Hesslyn (NTC member who died in 2011 on The Twins).

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The following statistics are for use in reporting to the Community Conservation Partnership Fund and other publicity:

– number of volunteers:                           21

NTC acknowledges the substantial contribution of hours by Tom Bruce and Simon Ridgen who are builders interested in the project but not members of NTC.

– total hours of volunteer work:                346

– number of huts maintained:                  1

– kilometres of track maintained:   –

– other funding sourced:               DOC supplied transport from Motueka to the hut for materials and a generator. They also supplied some painting equipment and materials.

Signed                                                          Project leader:   Ian Morris  4 May 2015