23rd to the 27th of April 2018.
Lydia McLean and I embarked on an ANZAC adventure to tick off one of the big names in Transalpine Tramping, Ivory Lake Hut. Was a great time, including the bit where I discovered I was iron deficient via text message on the first evening. I thought the hill seemed unusually difficult!
We went in along the Hitchin Range, which makes for an interesting mix of lovely and slightly more challenging travel and about two days to Ivory Lake Hut, the second day was particularly interesting in limited visibility, as there are a few times the range is best follow off to one side of the other, and it can be hard to keep your bearings when you can't see the ridge above you. All in all we arrived after dark at Ivory Lake , given we had had a late start on the first day, but the consensus was to push it as weather was going to be closing in later in the week and we've all heard the stories of friends trapped in the valley for weeks at a time.
Had a lovely chill ANZAC morning at Ivory Lake, with BEER, before making is down the Waitaha in a half day to Top Waitaha, a full day all the way to Kiwi Flat and then another half day out. I now completely understand the Waitaha's reputation as being rough. Although the track was in particularly tidy condition, it's still just rough going and I really need to upskill in the West Coast terrain, Fiordland was way to easy a training ground by comparison!
Made it out before the weather arrived, and on our first attempt too!

Heading up onto the Hitchin Range at Sunset

The view from our campsite the first night

Before the clouds closed in around us the next morning

Arriving at Ivory Lake in the dark, the bluffs were an interesting navigational challenge in the dark, but ultimately perfectly fine, although we had been concerned about attempting these in the dark

Sharing a BEER at Ivory Lake, classic chair included

Lydia enjoying the lounging at Ivory Lake with BEER in hand

Chair not so much fun to carry back to the Hut though

Made it! Shame about the state of the glacier these days...

A Classic shot of Ivory Lake Hut

I think the moss is new... seems ultimately a bit more gravel and vegetation and less bare glacial rock up there than I had expected.

Tarn Reflections between Ivory Lake and Top Waitaha Hut, which inspired such poetry.

A description

The dirty sky drags in the water below me,

The dusky tarn wibbles,

As I stand on the impossible collection of moss

And mud that holds it together,

Piled half a metre deep.

The frilled fronds of weed, untouched ever by a wave,

Lie twisted and tangled,

As though dead.

A wiff of fog extends a hand towards us,

Between the myriad of tarns.

It is time to reach the hut.

- Penzy Dinsdale

Where the lower Waitaha flows into Morgan Gorge, was fairly preoccupied with just keeping going for most of the valley... will have to work on that!

Morgan Gorge - will have to return and sniff out those hot pools some other time!

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