Monday, 10 March 2014

Two Mountains, one w/e: Trig M and Helicopter Hill

Trig M, 15 February
We booked a stop over at Smylies YHA in Springfield but drove past it on Saturday morning and went straight on up to the start of the Trig M walk. We parked beside a hairpin bend on the way to Arthur's Pass and had noticed the DOC sign indicating a walk many times. It was actually quite tough walking for nearly 6 hours on a hot day, but we had lots of water and managed OK.

There were magnificent spikes of Spaniard along the path. Vicious stuff, you don't want to brush past it by accident. Maoris used the spines for tattooing

The path wound around almost in a semi-circle, following ridges most of the way. Very hot, very little shade

We did eventually find shade in a small beech wood where we stopped for lunch

Helicopter Hill, 16 February
Another fabulous day, still very hot, but luckily the walk we've chosen to do, in the Craigiburn Forest, takes us up through deeply shaded forest, so we're only really hot when we come out from the trees to climb the last steep bit onto the flat-topped mountain.

Many of the trees are covered in a thick grey lichen, or is it moss?

We took the Mistletoe path which led us up to a saddle. From this point it's possible to take a number of different routes but we were heading for the top of Helicopter Hill

After leaving the forest we follow a stony ridge path which leads us rather steeply up to the top. Fantastic views all around

Looking back down to the saddle, Mike on the ridge preparing for the final haul to the top

Resting on the flat summit of Helicopter Hill surrounded by little bunches of white gentians and mountain peaks all around me

Looking through the tussock grass from the top of the hill down to the valley on the far side

We 'd seen a few white gentians on the previous days walk but the top of Helicopter Hill was absolutely covered with them, absolutely stunning

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