Moorcock Saddle, Longview Hut, then along Daphne Track, Wed Sept 16 2009. Map: U22
Trampers: Alison Greer, Ken Ross (photographer), Vic Bullock, Kelvin Shaw, Robyn Smith, Peter Slagter, Nolene Blair, Paul Exeter, Gary Bowler, Ron Morison, John Marshall, Manfred Hausler, Keith Moretta, Jeanne Van Den Hout, and Gordon Tapp
Twelve trampers travelled in the van to Moorcock Saddle. On arrival, the weather was fine and sunny, with little wind – a pleasant surprise in an area where high winds are often experienced. The road over the last two climbs to the saddle was somewhat rutted and covered with heavy gravel, but it was negotiated without difficulty.
Eight set off on the long trip, with the others tramping as far as they felt comfortable. Good progress was made up the spur and in two hours, we reached Longview Hut. A westerly wind had risen to moderate strength, as we moved towards the top of the spur and then proceeded to the hut. The hut was unoccupied and had been left in tidy condition. It was here we enjoyed morning tea. Leaving the hut, Paul turned back down the spur to bring the van around and meet us at Daphne track car park, at the end of our walk.
The main party decided to travel the 3 km along the ridge to the north end of the Daphne track and down to the car park. On the first section of the track over the high open tussock tops, we followed a poled route. Further on, the track dropped down into beech forest where we were surprised to find a number of mountain beech trees had been recently blown over, exposing their two-metre diameter ring of radiating roots, like wheels standing up with the trunk as the axle. Obviously, heavy snow and high winds have taken their toll.
The northernmost track leading down off the ridge was well marked with plastic tape and we proceeded down in the direction of Moorcock base camp. We dropped down into the headwaters of the Tukituki River, then climbed up to a ridge at about 900 metres. Further down, our track became less obvious but we followed cattle markings and eventually got down to the Moorcock Stream beside Kashmir Road.
The cool wind when we reached the car park shelter had risen to very strong and gusty, and we were pleased to change and gain protection within the waiting van. A most enjoyable six-hour tramp was experienced by the eight participants, with the other four also having a good day’s outing.