Wearing out the shoe leather
Cobb Valley Day Walks - Friday 23 - Monday 26 October 2020
Labour Weekend - finally, a long weekend after a long winter! We chose to make it even longer by voyaging over the Takaka Hill to the Cobb Valley on Friday afternoon, to give us two full- and one part- days of tramping.
Our destination was Trilobite Hut at the end of the narrow and windy Cobb Dam Road. Two availed themselves of bunks in the hut, while 12 of us set up our tents on the flat grassy ‘lawn’ outside the hut. As we were essentially car-camping, lots of non-tramping camping items made an appearance - tinned food, pillows, folding chairs, and even a guitar!
Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 8am on Saturday we set off towards Myttons Hut, and from there climbed up through the forest and above the bushline to the Lake Peel Track. Passing the lake, we headed further along the trail to the marker indicating the detour up on to the tops.
Under bluebird skies and with no wind, we followed a cairned route across a gentle incline to the summit of Mt Peel (1654m) where we had a lengthy lunch. We lay in the tussock, posed on shreds of snow, looked down on the Cobb Reservoir and Lake Peel, and relished the serenity of our situation and how lucky we were.
Most of us then retraced our steps back to Trilobite Hut, but three gluttons extended their day by also hoofing it across The Tablelands to visit Balloon Hut. The main group arrived back at base at 4.30, the other three at 6.00.
Sunday morning at 8am we were again on our way, heading further up the valley this time. The wide river flats were easy travelling, and we steadily knocked off three small huts/shelters. First was Chaffey Hut, then Tent Camp, followed by Cobb Hut. Chaffey Hut and Tent Camp are real gems and steeped in history, but you can google the details okay.
The intention at Cobb Hut was to turn left and go up to Lake Cobb and Round Lake. But low ominous clouds changed our minds, and instead we headed straight ahead for Fenella Hut. After lunch we wandered across to the nearby tarn/swimming-hole, a postcard-worthy wee lake surrounded by bonsai-like trees. And then, deja vu, we repeated our earlier route back to Trilobite Hut, arriving at 5pm.
Monday morning, and tents were down and the cars were packed, ready to head off on tramp number three - yep, again at 8am. We parked at the Cobb Dam, but attrition saw just eight of us heading up to Sylvester Hut. It’s a wide track up through the forest, then onto the tops for the last stretch to the hut.
No trip to the hut is complete without a visit to Lake Sylvester, so we duly trotted up to check it out. Then all too soon we were back at our cars and heading home.
Saturday: a solid 19km. All uphill in the morning, so all down in the p.m. Bluebird weather.
Sunday: a lengthy 27km, but it was ‘virtually flat’. Drizzle on and off.
Monday : at 13km, a relative doddle. Overcast.
Each morning we were woken and serenaded by a loud and melodious dawn symphony - the area around Trilobite Hut was alive with birdsong. Each evening the bloodsucking hordes of sandflies were out in greater force than earlier in the day - especially voracious for anyone daring to bare skin and have a quick dip or wash down by the river. And constantly we were on the alert for the beady-eyed ever-prowling weka - woe betide the unwary soul who left their hamburger buns untended on the picnic table!
We were: Diane (leader and scribe), Sue J, Karen, Robyn, Julie, Mary, Anne, Terri, Noah, Christine L, Paula G, Esther, Eric and Jeannie.