Posted by: Talie Morrison | April 4, 2009

Moss Pass

(It’s 6 am – and I am going to do 3 blog entries – pretty impressive, eh? 🙂 

 

Another AMAZING backpacking/tramping trip!   Nelson Lakes area is one of my favorite places in New Zealand – remember my Thompson Pass stormy trip, and then my Three Tarns Pass trip?.  I hadn’t been up there this trip; so I had to rectify that!    I decided to do a pass that had always tickled my fancy: Moss Pass.   I had heard that it was pretty steep (they are right!) so…

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I first had to book a water taxi across Lake Rotoroa.   I had camped on the edge of Rotoiti and didn’t realize it was a 40-minute drive to get around to Rotoroa – so I almost missed my taxi ride!   I was 20 minutes late, but they waited for me!    Thank goodness for cell phones (as I called with a panicked message when I realized I was going to be late!)  But because I was so late and rushed, I forgot to grab my hiking poles with my pack.   Bummer, I’ve gotten pretty used to using those poles!  

 

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The first day I did a 7.5-hour hike up the D’Urville River to the Ella Hut.  Along the way, I found a pretty good walking stick to use (and a good thing because I ended up really needing it!  I had spent some time at the Ella Hut a couple of years ago while I waited out a storm.   I shared it with 5 New Zealanders (and one Aussie) who had just come over Thompson Pass.  

 

 

 

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The next day, Sunday, was my day of going up!!!   I knew it was going to be a long haul up over the pass – yup, it was!   It took about 45 minutes to get to the swing bridge over the D’Urville – and at the bridge the sign said I had 8 hours till I got to Blue Lake Hut (Yikes!  This could be a long day!)   Oh, well – up we go. 

 

img_3417  Yes it was roots, rocks, mud, slippery – all those things.    And, of course, I was loving it!   J   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

img_3422After about 2 hours of climbing up through the bush, I came out into more alpine tundra – and came upon 3 New Zealanders, who had already come over the pass and were on their way down.  They were having lunch, complete with a cup’a tea.   They invited me to have a cup of tea – and we sat for an hour talking!   It was a pretty great break!   And we had lots of fun swapping stories! 

 

  From there, I only had about 1.5 hours to get to the top of the pass.   Later, I learned that the side of the pass I had gone up was an elevation gain of 4100 feet – oh, I guess it was UP!    Needless to say the views from the top were spectacular!  

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But I had a horrendous scree field to get down just below the top!    I had been forewarned about this little area – and it was pretty scary.   I wish photos could show the steepness! 

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But, needless to say, I made it down –gingerly – one step at a time – leaning on my stick a lot!   And as I got out of the “scree slot”, I was rewarded with an awesome view of Blue Lake.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I think Blue Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in the world!  It was good to get to the hut, and it didn’t take me as long as the 8-hour sign had said (it was more like 7 hours – including the tea break!)

img_3441That’s looking back up to the pass and the “scree slot” I had to come down!  

 

 

The next two days were relatively gentle days, just down to the West Sabine Hut and then the Sabine Hut.   So I took my time and enjoyed the alpine areas (like Lake Constance) and the beautiful mountains and streams.  

img_3381  From the Sabine Hut, it was another water taxi ride back to Yanqui and to St. Arnaud (a little town that is just a bit more than a petrol station/store, a motel and a DoC office – but what a beautiful area!    It’s a pretty busy DoC office since there is so much great backcountry accessed from there! 

 

 

 

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