Harper - Avoca - Basins Hut – 17-18 Feb 2018

Nor-west rain had filled the potholes as we drove past the small lakes beside the Harper Road and quickly got walking in patchy weather. Raincoats stayed off by the time we got to the Avoca River and left the Te Araroa Trail. We met a commercial possum hunter in a 4WD, who’d decided to park and cross the semi-flooded Avoca on foot to place bait in a patch of beech.

We avoided crossing and found a high track above bluffs then crossed the river when we got opposite Centre Creek. Basins Hut is on the true right so another crossing was required. Two motorbike owners had obviously decided not to risk a crossing and parked. We crossed as a threesome and were soon met by six quad-bikes churning through muddy 4WD tracks. They were having a “stag do” based at the house in the pines near the Harper-Avoca corner. Basins Hut was empty when we arrived at 5:45pm. We settled in, brewed a cuppa on the super-fast Coleman stove and had a lentil spaghetti meal with instant pud dessert. Pat made the hut surrounds tidier by picking up rubbish. People had lit fires on the grass close to the hut and left cigarette butts. Comments in the hut book refer to the “piggyness”.Harper valley

We left the hut at 0745 on a fine Sunday. Walking alongside the Avoca River we were pleased to see it had dropped a little and was less turbid. We’d abandoned any idea of climbing Thesis Peak. A side trip to Lake Lillian was worthwhile and took a total of 45 minutes. We had a cuppa at lunch time looking up to a broad, treeless Mt Ida, continued into a freshening wind and were back to the car by 3.30.  We were: Pat McIntosh, Kathrin Meuller and Kerry Moore.  KM