Trampers rave over the view from Mt Fyffe. The view of Mt Fyffe from the DoC office in Kaikoura was pretty good too.
At the bottom of the mountain there were two dozen cars in the carpark. Good thing we weren't going up there for the night.
We learned later 24 had spent the night IN the eight bunk Fyffe hut.
Our route started from the same carpark but took us up the Kowhai River.
The Kowhai is a gravelly stream flowing from a deep-cut valley between Mt Fyffe and the high Seaward Kaikoura ranges.
The valley rises only imperceptibly in the eight or so kms, so it made an easy afternoon's walk to the Kowhai hut.
The day was hot though, and the river is silty and doesn't look inviting to drink. So we stopped for the delicious clear water in the side streams.
The air was calm and felt hot on the face even when out of the sun. But it was rich with sound as the vegetation crackled and bellbirds and others sang constantly.
Four horsemen passed us. Even they looked hot, just sitting catching the breeze from their horse's movement.
We ambled on slowly. Not even Dayle was keen on pushing the pace.
It was late afternoon when we reached the hut. It was empty! And no one else arrived to share the extra bunks and abundant good camping with us.
The next morning the sky was crystal clear again. We were up at 6.00 and headed back down valley with the aim of climbing Snowflake.
My route guide was a Barry Dunnett first edition - published when he was a young man. (mountains don't change that much, do they?) He said then that Homestead Spur presented few problems, and to cut onto the spur from Orange Grove Creek.
Well Orange Grove Creek was now named Rokomaiwhaea Creek. So up it we went, for a while...
Unfortunately since Barry wrote his first edition, Rokomaiwhaea Creek has become thickly choked with invasive buddleia and himalayan honeysuckle.
We spent the next two and a half hours travelling just 2 km before agreeing that this route was no longer a go-er. We returned to the valley for lunch.
The day was not lost. We spent the rest of it exploring and just enjoying being there.
Honora and Dayle checked out the site of the long gone Snowflake hut. Then they went up Snowflake stream as far as they could before being stopped by waterfalls.
When we got back to the hut we found several parties had arrived.
David Round and friends were camped by the river. David is a great racontuer and so the conversation, with no more support than a bottomless billy of tea, provided for a very pleasant evening.
The weather forecast had been for a southerly change overnight. However the weather was still fine though cooler in the morning.
We decided to walk out via Spaniard Spur to Fyffe hut. And with a little luck I hoped to see at last the famous view from the top of Mt Fyffe.
The Spaniard Spur track climbs quickly through manuka forest. At the bushline we sprawled on grass to enjoy the view of the route to Snowflake.
Onward, the top 300 metres had plenty of the speargrass or Spaniard that give Spaniard Spur its name.
Clouds rolled over the ridge above and drifted down into the Kowhai valley. When we arrived at the Fyffe hut visibility was down to 50 metres. So I guess I'll still have to go back to Mt Fyffe at least one more time for the view.
We stopped in the hut for a good long lunch.
The weekend was over, except for the long knee-crunching walk down the 4x4 road to the carpark, and the long drive home in the late arriving southerly rain.