Checking the traps up the Carlyle takes two full days; for the December trip we stayed an extra night and used the time to explore the head of the valley (highly recommended!).
We (Bevan, Joe, and Matt) met in Belfast at 0800 on Tuesday and, after collecting gear in Waikuku (thanks Mark), headed towards the valley. After a quick briefing we began walking at 1040 on a warm, but overcast, morning.
The trip into the hut was fairly standard with Bevan and Joe doing the lunch hill loop before heading to the hut. I followed the main track and cleared much of the windfall using a reciprocating saw (heavy but effective!). Bevan and Joe caught up with me and we continued to the hut arriving at 1640.
Joe and I headed off up the valley at 0830 on Wednesday. On the way up the true left of the stream we installed four new Sentinel traps (no numbers!) to fill some of the larger gaps (ideally some DOC200’s need to be moved up here).
Upon reaching the highest trap we left our equipment behind and continued up the stream (relatively easy albeit steep!). When the stream narrowed, we turned off and climbed a steep shingle slide before sidling (some very steep patches!) to reach the pass (altitude 1305m; hut is 700m). The views from the pass were spectacular and it was great to be able to see the area we trap from above; we could also see down into the Magdalen valley (it’s quite possible to continue onto the Magdalen hut). After an enjoyable run down the single slide, we headed down the stream soon reaching a high waterfall which required another sidle back to the shingle slide we had initially walked up. The waterfall is difficult to reach from the bottom but is stunning!
On the way back to the hut we checked the remaining traps arriving at about 1700 to find a care package from Bevan (who had only been able to stay one night). In total we walked around 15.5km and my GPS indicates we climbed 928m in total (max altitude was 1353m). Tramping on a warm day really takes it out of you and we were both in bed before 9pm.
On Thursday we had a leisurely start (9am!) and a very fast walk out to the road (10km, 2hrs 30 min); this. The drive back to Christchurch was broken by a stop for lunch at the Culverden Pub (at which time the Car reported it was 32 degrees so I’m happy we were out early!).
This was a really enjoyable trip and I would recommend exploring the top of the valley to anyone who feels up to the climb! Bevan brought along a handsaw on this trip and, between us, we have removed almost all of the windfall on the track to the hut (all of the bits that were difficult to get over/under are gone!) which should make future trips a bit easier.
Notes for the next trip:
- Sentinel covers are available in the first cat trap (please take a few!) and at the hut.
- Trap.nz data continues to improve but I have noted a few things to check (photos are preferred).
- January is generally when we put out Wasp bait so this will be a busy trip!
Possum 7, Rat 7 Total – 14