Jacks Hill Mount Algidus 24th – 25th January
After a 3 hour drive and an early lunch we left the cars on the South side of the Rakaia River and walked downstream to find a safe crossing. We found a divided section and crossed in water mid-thigh depth. The Rakaia is a wide river bed and with only a small section of paddock between the Rakaia and the Mathias we spent 3 hours in river. The day was hot and the water in the Mathias well braided. One stop in the riverbed allowed Judy to abandon her pack and lie fully clothed in the shallow stream.
Dave promised we would find a stream beyond the river but did we trust a memory from 50 years earlier? Sure we did, but some did take off their packs to search while others had a break.
The stream was an attractive stream that disappeared underground soon after leaving the hill. It gave us a lovely campsite amongst beech trees.
After a walk up to mistake hut, the 3rd and not such a mistake, we all lay in the mistake river and enjoyed cooling down. A full moon and owls hooting made for a lovely night.
An early start had us walking at 6am. After heading through some dense bush we found a good ridge to climb in the shadow. Eventually we swapped ridges but Dave had kept us out of the sun for as long as possible. It was 9:30 and the day was shaping up to be very hot. A discussion determined the top of the hill was not an achievable goal and the group split with 3 going on to see if the view improved. The rest had an early lunch. The view I am told did not expand over to the next valley.
After a debate on the best route down we never worked out it out. We started well but deviated and ended up well and truly in thick bush. It took longer to get down than up.
A quick 2nd lunch for some and then packing up the camp we headed out about 1pm. It was hot in the river bed and on one occasion Colin had to wait standing in the stream. Stones were overheating his feet. Crossing the Rakaia was cooling and the wind was strengthening. Dave organised a great weekend, the weather was kind as the rivers crossable but 24 hours later would have been different. The stories of Dave’s first high country job were fascinating. At 70 he can still out climb faster than others 20 years his junior.
Louise, John, Christine, Catherine, Owen, Neville, Alison, Judy and Colin all thank Dave for an amazing weekend.