Casey Hut – 5-8 November 2022

We set off from Timaru at midday on Saturday and planned to stay the night in Arthurs Pass so we could have an early start for our walk into Casey Hut on Sunday as we knew we had a 6 to 8 hour walk that day so it saved the long drive prior to our walk. As I was unable to get accommodation at Arthurs Pass we stayed at Rata Lodge in Otira instead on Saturday night.

Our evening meal was at Otira Hotel that night. This is an interesting place to look around with lots of paraphernalia to look at and ponder over.  Also you could only buy a beer at this hotel if you were staying there.

On Sunday we headed back over to Arthurs Pass to start our walk at Andrews shelter. It had rained heavily in Otira the night before but was dry on the other side of the Pass where we were heading.

Once we started the walk it was a steady climb up onto a high terrace that warmed us up and then through beech forest, and along grassy flats at Hallelujah Flat. Then a gentle climb up over Casey Saddle and later onto some boardwalk.

Then a bit further following the river we were out in the open and viewing the new Casey Hut up on the terrace.

This new hut which was donated by Rob Birks and Dr Sharon English. It is in a lovely setting, catches the sun nicely and has great views down the valley and out to the river. We were the only ones there. It is lovely and light inside and the mattresses are extra thick and comfy. It even had solar lighting inside.

We were pleased to be here as it had taken us 8 hours to walk in. So time for a rest and cuppa. The fire was lovely and the hut was soon cosy and warm.

On Monday John enjoyed a hut day while Wayne and I walked up to the Trust Poulter Hut. We crossed the Casey Stream and followed along through some forest and grassy flats and were soon there in about an hour and half. This is an old Forest Service hut. After a snack we returned back the same way crossing the river and onto  Casey Hut. The rest of the day we chopped up some wood and restocked the woodshed and then some R&R reading and soaking up the views and scenery.

Tuesday we were up and away by 8am as we knew we had another long day ahead of us walking down river flats to start with along the Poulter River then after reaching Petes Stream it was a steep climb up onto terraces and the start of our walk up over Binser Saddle through beech forest. There weren’t many views through here. Once up over the saddle it was a steady descent back down over trees roots and some windfall. By then everyones knees and joints were feeling it.

It was good to be down and out in the open but we had the 2 km slog along the road to get back to our car.

We were lucky with the weather and only had slight drizzle for a brief spell.

It was lovely to get back into this area and see the new Casey Hut. There are plenty of good camp spots along the way in and out if anyone is thinking of doing it and making the days shorter and spending more time in there.

Thanks to John and Wayne for their company and making it a few enjoyable days of tramping.  Many thanks to Rob for his generosity in funding this hut.

Scribe Catherine.

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