St James Walkway

An 8 AM start in the UCSA carpark yielded 7 sleepy trampers, which resulted in a quick consensus to stop in Culverden pie and coffee. Following a mandatory group photo, off we set, discovering along the way that slopes make for interesting optical illusions.

Poses we would be unable to hold at the end
Poses we would be unable to hold at the end

At Cannibal Hut we discovered that there was another large group of seven ahead of us that were also staying at Ada Hut. Fortunately, they were completing the track in 5 days, so we would be a day ahead of them for the rest of the trip. The clear skies resulted in spectacular views and a brilliant sunset over Gloriana Peak as we approached the hut, only to find the wood situation dismal. The other (older) group had gone through most of the kindling trying to get the fire going. After about an hour of trying between Mitchell and myself we finally succeeded, just in time for Matt’s delicious dinner and geeky Cards Against Humanity to round up the evening.

Pretty scenery on day 2
Pretty scenery on day 2

The next morning we were again treated to Matt’s cooking, this time PANCAKES! And after looking suspiciously at the drizzle (“Metservice said sun!”), we said adieu and set out on our separate ways, Matt back to the car and the rest of us onto Anne Hut. After coming across a massive windfall 30 min down the track, we put Russell’s forestry engineering degree to good use and discovered that Mitchell’s multitool saw was surprisingly effective.

Further along the trail, we came across a pair of trampers heading out, who, to our dismay, notified us that the snow was now forecast for a day early. As we all had sufficient gear, we decided to press on to Anne and radio DOC the following morning for a more accurate update. The track to Anne Hut yielded even more spectacular views as we crossed from forest, to farmland, to Canterbury high country. With highlights being “trees that move” aka horses across the far side of the valley, billions of geese and lovely flat valleys.

Yay! Snow Photo: Zeinab
Yay! Snow Photo: Zeinab

We arrived at Anne Hut half an hour after dark and realised that, to our delight, it was double glazed and had a huge wood store! Following dinner that night we had a shoulder massage train and a yoga session to help with the sore muscles. We woke up to an unexpectedly white world, with more coming down as we packed up! Being the sensible trampers that we are, clearly the only option was a snow in undies photo (I recall Zeinab talking all of us into it).
Following DOC assurances that we could walk out with the forecasted snow, we started plugging, making it up and over Anne pass around midday and arriving at Boyle Flats hut just on dusk. Following two 10+ hr days in a row we all went a little loopy and decided that Russell’s sponge was the single most useful item in our possession. “It can do everything!” Michelle declared. Retrospectively, everything only encompassed sponge and pot holder duties, but nonetheless we were sufficiently awed. Following an obligatory spoon train as I was still cold we all headed to bed for our final night on the trip.

While packing up the next day, we realised that

  1. Russells Swanndri was dress length on Michelle, making her look like Little Red Riding Hood
  2. Mitchell is always willing to strip to his underwear

The journey out to Boyle Village was tinged with sadness, with at least a couple of us declaring that we would rather head back to Anne and stay there indefinitely. However, sore legs won out and we were overwhelmingly grateful when we got back to the cars.

 

Mitchell sums it up nicely
Mitchell sums it up nicely

Date: Jul 4-7, 2015
Location: Lewis Pass
Tramps: Stephanie McRae, Russel Schaare, Michelle Lambert, Mathew Falloon, Susanne Birgelen, Zeinab Chegini and Mitchell

Words by Stephanie McRae
Images: Stephanie, Michelle and Zeinab