Washpen Falls 18 May 2022


Group Leader Mentor Understudy Tailender
Stds Alan H Dave R Gary Janice
Alternates Norma Nick Soo Tessa

Stats: distance 15km, ascent 475m, time 4hrs 40mins

Today’s walk was fully subscribed with no visitors.  Many of the trampers were wearing gaiters in anticipation of muddy conditions, as advised by our president Bev. Thanks to Margaret who generously donated two pair of gaiters.

After setting off from Christchurch on a sunny, calm morning we arrived at the Washpen Falls walk where it was also sunny but with a rather strong northerly! The two groups set off about 10:00 am with a 34/16 split (Standards/Alternates).

The first part of the walk was steadily uphill through a few muddy patches, into a pine forest which was thankfully drier underfoot.

At 10:30am the Standards group stopped for morning tea in a cave situated beneath an overhanging bluff. They were joined for some of this time by the alternates, a great spot to share.

Upon leaving this cave there was a short climb up into the sunshine …. and wind. The first view across the plains was magnificent and the first of many to come. Both groups deviated from the Washpen Falls track onto farmland and walked to their respective lunch stops. For the standards the lunch setting was in the lee of the Snowy Peak below the summit to get some shelter. Clear views looked out over the braided Rakaia River towards the ocean.

After lunch we descended the same way. As soon as we passed through the Snowy Peak gate the Korimako/Bellbird could be clearly heard even above the wind.  Just before the view of the falls there was a deviation past the Do Not Enter sign to a wooden platform and for some, through the Strictly No Admittance sign onto the platform.  There were no keen bungy jumpers!

At Stone Lake today’s intrepid rower was Chris. He looked fairly handy with the oars. Beyond the lake on a lower level, Bill S was quite taken with the intricacies of the old Pelton Wheel, a legacy from the First World War. The wheel was driven by water from Stone Lake and connected to a vintage submarine generator [circa WW1].  This provided power for the farm for over 40 years! (Information courtesy the Washpen Falls brochure).

The final part of the walk back to the bus was also filled with Korimako/Bellbird birdsong.

A pleasant day’s walk for all. Txt by Joanne