Sergey and Claire joined us as we headed north to the Lewis Pass (first outing in our new Prado). We parked slightly off-road near the Rahu Saddle. It was a relatively gradual climb following a creek, and just after I emptied some of my drinking water out to lighten the load, the creek dried up. This put me into a slight panic mode. What if the tarns had dried up? Much of the country had been declared a drought zone. Even here on the Coast the verges were dry!
Bill & Wendy, Dennis & Wendy, Glenda & Lex, Pauline & Barry, Sandra and Bronwyn gathered in Clyde on the evening of 28 Feb. Right from the start it felt like a good holiday: hot sunshine, a walk along the river, a drink at the pub and a fine dinner in the garden of the Old Post Office. Next morning we assembled at the Railhead at 8:30, organised the cars and pedalled off towards Alexandra. Sandra was our supporter: taking the overnight bags in her vehicle and popping up by the Trail often over the next few days to take photos and join us whenever the Trail came close to a road.
It was raining lightly as we set off for the Lewis on the 27th of December 2012 for our 5-day adventure. We arrived at the Boyle River crossing northwest of the Engineers camp and after some debate over where to cross we linked up and cruised across the Boyle easily. Up the Doubtful was pleasant easy going until we left the grassy flats and began the bush track. There were felled trees everywhere and negotiating them slowed us considerably. Late lunch at the Doubtless Hut then on up towards the pass.
We collected just one at the Yaldhurst carpark: an enthusiastic though not a ‘morning person’ guy named Simon. It was an early start – 7 am – and there was a drizzly fog which continued for some time as we headed towards Rakaia. Our starting point was the Dry Acheron car park on the Lake Coleridge Road.
I had my doubts about the ‘Dry’ terminology as previous experience of the bursting banks of the Dry Swin River made me a doubter. (Another “dry” trip about 3 years ago. Ed) I was proved correct as we criss-crossed the river at about knee-depth for over an hour.
A swarthy team of six intrepid trampers headed off into the snow fields of the Lewis Pass after winter’s biggest snow dump so far. Spurred on by an improving weather forecast and the news that DOC had been “working on the track” we donned winter gear and headed up the freshly cleared track. The damage caused by the heavy snow dump was soon evident with the sawdust from recent chainsaw activity on the many tree falls. We grew to appreciate the extent of DOC’s track maintenance when we reached the end of their activity.