Showing posts with label Bealey Spur. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bealey Spur. Show all posts

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Bealey Spur Track, 6 September 2014

A day trip to Bealey Spur in Arthur's Pass National Park

I went for a tramp up to the Bealey Top Hut on Bealey Spur this last weekend, it was a great trip, the weather was outstanding and the mountains look spectacular with all the snow still on them.
Panorama of the tarns on Bealey Spur

Panorama of the Bealey, Edwards and Hawdon Valleys from Bealey Spur

Bealey Spur Track

Bealey Spur is about 10 kilometres short of Arthur's Pass village, and overlooks the Waimakiriri valley and Klondyke corner.

Heading up Bealey Spur

The track starts at the top of the access road for the Bealey Bach settlement, it is about 2 odd hours to the hut, climbing steadily all the time. Because of its location it tends to get better weather than a lot of the other tracks in the park.  

DOC track sign on Bealey Spur

Here is the car park at the top of the access road, there is space for about 3-4 cars here. There is also a much bigger car park at the bottom of the Spur with a link track to the actual Bealey Spur track.

Bealey Spur Track: The very small top car park

Its not a steep gradient by any means but you are constantly walking up hill for the next 2 hours.

Bealey Spur Track: The initial native bush

No major rivers or streams to cross only these small drainage ditches. You could walk this track in the rain but would need to watch out as the marking of the track is not great.
Very few poles or markers.

Board walk on the Bealey Spur Track

Bealey Spur Track: Some steep parts...

...and less steep parts on Bealey Spur Track

Hot? Sort was about 17 degrees and sunny, but the good over head cover provided by the forest on the lower slopes of the spur helped a lot.
Jon on the Bealey Spur Track

Bealey Spur Track: Approaching the bush line

Here is the first view point about 30 minutes up the track, this is looking out towards the Bealey  - Edwards - Mingha Valley confluence.

View up Bealey River Valley:Bealey/Mingha/Edwards confluence

After an hour you break out of the beech and enter a regenerating area of Manuka scrub, this area was burnt over during the pastoral days and is only now rejuvenating.

Bealey Spur Track: start of the Manuka

View looking South East towards Mt Bruce, the Cass - Lagoon Saddle track runs around the mid-upper slopes of this mountain before heading down to Cora Lynn Station.
This track is on my "to do" list of future tramps.

Mt Bruce from the Bealey Spur Track

View South towards the Mt Hutt range and head of Bruce Stream, you can bush bash down into the stream and walk out from there but it looks like a "sporty" proposition.

View of head of Bruce Stream from the Bealey Spur Track

That way down there is Bruce Stream, the drop off point here would be about 200 vertical metres. If you go up this track watch out at these viewpoints as there are no barriers to stop you falling way...down....there...!

Bruce Stream Bealey Spur from above the gorge

Here is the top edge of the manuka and the start of the sub alpine vegetation, you are walking through varied tussock basins, beech forest and manuka for the rest of the way.

Bealey Spur Track: climb through the tussock

First view of the Alps, this is the area between Mt Bealey- Avalanche Peak -Mt Rolleston at the head of the Crow Valley.
Mts Lancelot/Rolleston/Avalanche/Bealey from the Bealey Spur Track

This is looking east towards the Dome and the Cass-Mt White bridge area.

Dome from the Bealey Spur Track

View south east towards Blind Spur, and the uppers reaches of Mt Bruce,. The Cass - Lagoon Saddle track crosses the slopes just above the scrub in the upper middle left of this photo.

Lagoon Saddle from the Bealey Spur Track

North towards Klondyke Corner, Edwards-Bealey river valleys and State Highway 73 far below.

Klondyke Corner from the Bealey Spur Track

Here are the headwaters of the Waimakiriri river, Crow Valley, I didn't realise how big this drop off is until I was down at Klondyke Corner looking back towards Bealey Spur. It too is about 200 very steep metres of scree and loose shingle. 
Waimakiriri Valley and Jellicoe Range

The forest opens up as you climb higher along the spur, with frequent tussock clearings in between.

Bealey Spur Track: One of the bush patches

About 2/3 of the way up the track you arrive at the tarns, this area is the most picturesque of the tramp. If you were running out of steam by this point the tarns are a worthwhile destination in their own rights. The hut is still about 2 kilometres away at this point.

Bealey Spur Track: Board walk around the tarns

Bealey Spur: the tarns from ground level

The ice on top of that bog is about 40cm's thick, evidence of the low temperatures which are the norm in the area. It might be possible to camp near these tarns as there is a lip of slightly elevated ground surrounding them. Buggy in Spring and Summer though.
Thick ice on Bealey Spur Tarns

Bealey Spur Track: the tarns

Bealey Spur Tarns from higher on the Bealey Spur Track

The hut is just beyond the line of forest crowning the ridge line off to the right.

Approach the high point on the Bealey Spur Track

A view back down on the tarns from above.
Bealey Spur Track: View down on the tarns

Another panorama of shots from left to right from a resting point above the tarns.

Bealey Spur Track: West to the Black Range

Bealey Spur Track: View of the Waimakiriri Valley

Bealey Spur Track: View of Klondyke Corner

Bealey Spur Track: View of Cass in distance

There were the odd patches of snow amongst the trees as I got closer to the hut.

Bealey Spur Track: Bealey Spur hut is 30 metres away

Here is the first view of the hut, it has recently been repainted by DOC in this vivd lime green colour. The hut is nestled on the edge of a tussock clearing with a water tank, wood shed and toilet close to hand.
First view of Bealey Spur Hut

Still a bit of snow lingering in the shaded areas around the hut. I would imagine it gets a lot of snow deep in winter being so close to the Southern Alps.
The flats around Bealey Spur Hut

At Bealey Spur Hut

Here is the Bealey Top Hut, it is a very small DOC six bunk hut that you can stay in overnight if the fancy takes you. Originally it was the musterers hut for the sheep farm that existed on the spur. It must have been hellish getting the sheep up and down the spur, glad I didn't have to do it.

Bealey Spur Hut (1922?)

Bealey Spur 'Top Hut"

Rustic interior! The beams for the walls and ceiling are made from beech branches, it has an open fire, no insulation so it would be damn cold in the winter. It must have been a very small space for 6 musterers to occupy with all of their gear, food and "flossie".

Beech pole bunks in Bealey Spur Hut

DOC historical board setting out the history of the hut and surrounding area.

DOC information baord about Bealey Spur

The walls are totally covered with the names and details of people who have stayed in the hut, right back to the 1920's. Graffiti is not a modern occurrence obviously!

Historic graffiti in Bealey Spur Hut

View out door of Bealey Spur Hut

Mission accomplished, lunch eaten now its time to head on down.

Jon inside rustic Bealey Spur Hut

That way be home!

Snow pack on Bealey Spur

Panoramic series of photos from a rest stop just before you reach the tarns.

View east down the Waimakiriri Valley

View up Waimakiriri Valley from Bealey Spur

Below are a couple of shots of the tarns on Bealey Spur that I took as i was descending the track. There are a lot of birds around here you can hear them in the patches of beech forest hereabouts. I saw Tui, Kea, Fantails, Bluebirds and a lot of waders.

The tarns on Bealey Spur

Bealey Spur Tarns with Mt Avalanche in background

Last view of the Waimakiriri headwaters...

Waimakiriri Valley laid out below you

...and South East towards Cass.
Looking towards Mt White bridge from Bealey Spur

There is something truly beautiful about the play of light on a forest in the early afternoon.

Bealey Spur Track: Back at start of track
Here are a series of shots from Klondyke Corner showing Bealey spur from bottom to top.

Bealey Spur from left...

Mt Bruce and Bealey Spur

Bealey Spur Hut in the bush mid photo.... end of Bealey Spur

Steam locomotive at Klondyke Corner

Here are a couple of photos of what I think are one of the old K Series steam locomotives used up until the 50's on the Christchurch - Arthur's Pass - Otira line.

 A local trust owns this one and several times a year runs to Arthur's Pass and back. They used big Italian electric trains to take the carriages through the Otira tunnel as the smoke from a steam locomotive would have asphyxiated the passengers. There were a lot of train "enthusiasts" waiting to photography the train as it passed.

Steam locomotive near Klondyke Corner

My first trip for a couple of months and what a stunner of a day to be out and about in the mountains.

Bealey Spur location on SH73

Access: Bealey Spur is on SH73 through Arthur's Pass, it lies just outside the park boundary, 2 km's before the Bealey Tavern. There is a small 3 car park at top of Bealey Spur Road, a larger one at the base of the Spur with a connecting track.
Track Times: 2-3 hours to Bealey Spur (Top) Hut, 1.5-2 hours return to car park
Hut Details: Bealey Spur Hut: basic, 6 bunks, open fire, water tank, wood shed, toilets
Miscellaneous: Track is steep in places, hut is very rustic