Gee and I were going to climb Mt Owen over Easter Weekend, but the weather did not look good, so we decided to head up onto the 1000 Acre Plateau in Kahurangi National Park. After a hearty brunch in Murchison, we headed up the Matiri Valley, past Lake Matiri and up onto the 1000 Acre Plateau. It is a fair grunt, heading up to the Plateau, and under a sweltering sun with little wind, the slog was not particularly enjoyable — I think Gee and I both regretted that extra bowl of potato wedges we ordered with breakfast. Arriving at Poor Petes Hut (2 bunks) in the early evening, we were greeted by 19 others and a sizeable tent-town, but amongst the crowds were some friends from Wellington, which was a pleasant surprise.
Rain started coming in overnight and, with increasing showers forecast, Gee and I had an alpine start and headed the short distance to Larrikin Creek Hut. The track was slippery and muddy and I was particularly happy with and grateful for my new Resolution Pants! Knowing that the hordes (plus a hut-full from Matiri) would be soon arriving, and that there were a shortage of tent sites at Larrikin Creek, we quickly set up our tent in the beech forest behind the hut, and enjoyed breakfast, mark ii. The day was a bit wet and miserable, and so it was a good opportunity to talk. Gee and I are heading to the Himalayas at the end of the year, to do a climb and some trekking, and so it was a good opportunity to plan. Later in the afternoon, as the rain eased, I caught up with my friends from Wellington and we did a bit of exploring around the waterfall near the hut. I was struck by the beauty and mystery of the Plateau under rain: the massive waterfalls forming on the face of The Haystack (the mountain behind the hut), the pre-historic bush vivid with colour, and the dramatic escarpments seemed as if they had been pulled straight from a scene from Jurassic Park.
The following day was fine and we set out with my friends from Wellington to climb The Needle. It was a beautiful walk, cloud gracing the valley below and forming crazy cirrus formations above. Returning to Larrikin Creek Hut, Gee and I packed up and headed back down to Lake Matiri and the road end. From there, we made our way to the Murchison pub and enjoyed a few well-earned beers.