Nick the pilot had the Cessna out of the shed at 7.30 am preparing to fly us into Siberia. We relocated the 5th into a DOC carpark alongside the airstrip at Makarora and
Carried our gear to the plane . Just enough room in an underside locker to fit all out clutter including camera tripod and and extra day backpack full of food. Departed in crisp clear weather and headed up the Makarora River before swinging up and into Siberia valley. Breathtaking views and a seat of the pants series of close maneuvers to get the plane lined up for landing on two rutted strips. A fog at close to ground level made it a little unnerving but Nick settled her down for a perfect landing.
Surprised just how popular this special place is , the hut has been pretty full and one night there were many folk sleeping on the kitchen floor as beds ran out. A noisy group of hunters arrived by helicopter and proceeded to get themselves legless with lots of hard liquor. A bit like first night school camp kids – they had a real bad first night but last night they were pretty much all tired out and ready for bed at the same time as all the trampers. Sleeping in these dorm style huts like sardines is not actually all that great – the burps , farts and endless synchronized snoring can make sleep elusive – I hauled my mattress out into the kitchen last night to enjoy and relative cool and peace and quiet and uninterrupted sleep. Entering the dorm this morning the atmosphere was unpleasant , smelled worse than a Greek wrestlers jockstrap 😱
CRUCIBLE —- a ceramic or metal container in which metals or other substances may be melted or subjected to very high temperatures.
“the crucible tipped and the mould filled with liquid metal”
A curious name for an interesting day walk to see Crucible LakeHeaded up the valley towards Crucible Lake , had to manage a crossing of the Siberia River and took off our boots to keep of socks dry for the big walk ahead. Water is ice fed melt – character building.
This walk is described as something of a scramble – a very steep 500 metre climb up through dense Beech forest requiring a certain amount of agility as you are hanging onto roots as footholds and handholds too. Barb reported feeling ” terrified ” at times wondering how on earth we would manage to down climb on the way back. Finally the tree line was breached and we had an easier stretch in tussock country before the final testy ascent to the crucible itself. It was clearly evident that this lake should be named ” crucible ” – the shape unmistakable and against the sheer walled magnificence of the mountain above . No icebergs remain so we need to return to see the spectacle in a different season. Conditions were perfect and we enjoyed a nice lunch break in the lip of this crucible while absorbing the magnificent 360 degree views surrounding us.
The return to lake Crucible was just the warm up to the main event – this time a 1000 metre ascent all the way to the top of the Gillespie saddle at 1600 metres. The tracks ascends steeply alongside the roaring Gillespie River . The track is a little better than the Crucible but still a root tangled scramble through the Beech before breaking thru to tussock to see the towering ridge high above – great vistas abound and truly impressive hills.
Nick arrived on schedule with some day walkers at 10 .30 am Good Friday and we got a ” back flight ” a cheaper return flight back to Makarora – only $ 50 each. Relocated the 5th to the caravan park across the road and managed to get all our dirty laundry processed and by day’s end all dry and packed away .