Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Meeting Meg

It was 30°C and crowded in Queenstown; I needed to get out. Plans for my days off had fallen through so the morning had been spent poring over maps and trawling the internet for ideas. While I was sceptical that the forecast heavy rain would actually reach this drought stricken area, I still wanted to avoid any stream crossings which could become dicey. I also wanted a sense of freedom and wide open space. So eventually I settled on Meg Hut in the Pisa Range. 

But 30°C was far too hot to contemplate climbing for two hours up the arid, treeless hills so I while away the heat of the day lounging under a tree in Arrowtown, contentedly slurping a thickshake. By the time I set of from the Cardrona Valley on Shanks' pony there was high cloud cover and a breeze, making it merely quite warm rather than absolutely roasting. Even so, within minutes my drinking water turned disgustingly tepid. 

The track is a farm road through Waiorau Station which climbs over 500m up to Tuohys Saddle before dropping down to the headwaters of the Roaring Meg. There was evidence of a recent massacre: shotgun pellets and rabbit carcasses were strewn about, although there were plenty of live bunnies still nonchalantly hopping about. Grasses and farm weeds gradually gave way with altitude to tussock and Spaniards. 

Built in the 1860s as a musterers' hut, with extensions and upgrades through the twentieth century, Meg Hut has been restored by DOC and is quite spacious and tidy inside. Despite the hut being unoccupied I opted to pitch my tent as I hadn't field tested it yet. 

It was a delightfully peaceful spot, with a backdrop of rocky tors and the gentle murmuring of the brook. The perfect place to relax for a couple of nights away from the summer crowds.

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