Friday, April 15, 2016

Stone Hut, Stone Hut Stream, Mt Gerald Station, Mackenzie Country

Wed 13.04.16. I parked my car at the end of Lilybank Rd, Mt Gerald Station, 37 km from Lake Tekapo village. My quest: Stone Hut by Stone Hut Stream, Mt Gerald Station. Map ref: BX17 085571. Afterwards I'd trek up an old farm road to a 1350 m spur on glacial terraces overlooking Godley River & Macaulay River confluence. The spur descended the west side of Beuzenberg, forming Stone Hut Stream gorge.

From the carpark I wandered a Macaulay River track (unmarked) past deer fenced, harvested, wheat fields on river terraces. A Claas Harvester was parked by a shed in the wheat fields. The unmarked track sidled NE round the wheat fields. I watched a flock of Canada geese wheel S to Lake Tekapo, over the river confluence, backdropped by Southern Alps ranges.

Beyond the N end of Mt Gerald / Beuzenberg W spur, Stone Hut, unmarked track rose 240 vertical metres eastwards, 3.5 kms, through grassland to Stone Hut by Stone Hut Stream. It took me 1.5 hours to reach Stone Hut, wood & iron construction. I wrote the following in the intentions book:

Wed. 13.4.16. Tea. 10.30. Hut to myself. From Fairlie / Lake Tekapo. Going higher to approx 1350 m then returning to Lilybank Rd carpark this afternoon. Clear day. Magnificent views. Took me 65 years to get here. Ta Serah & Michael. Mark JS Esslemont. S Africa / NZ.

Climbing 350 vertical metres, 2 kms, I followed a steep, old, farm road on the right of Stone Hut Stream to the top of glacial terraces on Beuzenberg W spur, approx 1350 m. Map ref: BX17  092576.

On the steep road, Mt Gerald Station / Te Kahui Kaupeka Park boundary fence blocked my way, so I clambered over a locked deer fence gate. It wasn't the first or last, locked, deer fence gate I clambered over that day. The road continued NE past a fork towards Mt Toby & the W side of Beuzenberg in the distance. The road crossed Stone Hut Stream & doubled back steeply up a SW spur of Mt Toby.

I turned right at the road fork & amidst snow tussock, on the glacial spur, I found an old trig beacon site, 1345 m, a steel pole stump, supported by rocks, Map ref: BX17 096562, similar to what I'd seen last year on the top of Mt Burgess. Current trig beacons were vertical concrete hunks.

360 degree panoramas were seen from the top of Mt Gerald glacial terrace:

Eastwards: Glacial terraces hiding Ribbonwood Stream cachment & top of Mt Gerald, 1551 m.
Southwards: Mt Richmond Range, Mt Ardmore, Mt Hay. Mt Edward, Motuariki Island in Lake Tekapo, Mt John, Ben Ohau Range.
Westwards: Mt Joseph, Hall Range & Mistake Peak over Lake Tekapo. Mt Gerald Station, NE end of Lake Tekapo. Mt Haszard, Pikes Peak, Mt Radove, Taranaki Peak over Godley River Valley.
Nor'westwards: Lilybank Station below Razor Back & Mt Erebus. Mt Sibbald Range.
Northwards: Mt D'Archiac above Macaulay River Valley.

From the old trig beacon on the glacial terrace spur, I made a bee line descent down lateral moraine hummocks to my car at the end of Lilybank Rd:

Distances & times:

Lilybank Rd carpark to Stone Hut: 240 vertical metres, 3.5 kms, 1.5 hours.
Stone Hut to 1350 m spur on Beuzenberg W spur, glacial terrace: 350 vertical metres, 2.5 km, 1.5 hours.
Beuzenberg W spur, glacial terrace descent to Lilybank Rd carpark: 5 kms, 2 hours.

Hill walking fitness, Topo50 map, all weather gear, water, food, permission from Mt Gerald Station owners needed. Cell phone coverage was patchy, only when Lake Tekapo was seen.

Stone Hut was at the mouth of a gorge, Stone Hut Stream meandering down. Beware winter avalanches.

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

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