February 27, 2017
km traveled today: 24
total TA km: 2649
Day 116: Roses Hut to Arrowtown
Waking up at Roses Hut this morning we slept in a wee bit, until 7:30, and other soboers Tim Shepherd and Heartbreaker left before us. It wasn’t as cold a morning as usual because we were immediately greeted with the rising sun and we immediately were climbing up a ridge for a long time. We followed the ridge steadily up for a while until it started steeply switchbacking up the final face before the high point of the day at 1275m, above and next to Roses Saddle, halfway between the saddle and the peak up the continuing slope on our left.
After an enormously sweaty break we descended down and sometimes up a rolling ridgeline for twenty minutes or so before accidentally taking a half hour long standing break that got out of hand while we were enjoying the sun and talking about broken fingers and deviated septums. We finished the descent to the Arrow River not far from its headwaters, by an old abandoned hut (maybe from old gold mining usage) and an old abandoned digger machine. After this first descent to river level, we considered walking through the river itself as mentioned in the notes, to avoid the high water track which is some really steep up and down madness, but decided our preferred entry point to the river might be further down the high water track by about 1.4 km where it descends to river level for a second and final time.
So we continued on and went back up above the river but had had enough pretty quickly and dropped back down earlier than expected to the river itself. We started down the river “within the riverbed”, as the notes put it, but we weren’t sure what that meant – after a couple minutes of crossing back and forth we reached a section where we couple only make progress directly inside the river due to steep cliffs on either side of it and then understood what was meant.
For about half an hour we had some cold wet walking, until we took a break for long enough for our feet to regain feeling in the sun and skipped rocks across the river. Right after the break travel started to gradually get much better; we spent more time outside the river as there were more crossings as opposed to intrariver travel. We finished the 4km river walk by lunch time and ate under shady maple tree upon entering Macetown.
Macetown is not currently a town but was at one point a gold mining down, deserted since the 1920s, now in ruins. It was basically poles of stone and one restored general store with interpretive signs outside it. On the gravel road through the old town we passed a couple northbounders. After we had had enough of hot open walking following the river on this wide path, we came upon the junction with the Big Hill Route. As we went up it it was pretty overgrown and not very clear that we were going the right way. Since there were really no markers someone had marked with sharpie on a style an arrive for the TA, which we appreciated.
Even following up the stream the markers were just metal poles, with no typical orange plastic tube on top. We soon turned up an overgrown guilt thick with gorse, but soon struggled out of it and shot up to a ridge. We crushed it up this ridge and sidled back across the same gully 250m higher, and passed Heartbreaker taking a break with a northbounder. After the final steepest climb we emerged in top of the saddle at 1080m, our final time above 1000m of the whole trail. We sat and chilled and snacked, with a view over arrowtown one way and back into the mountains the other. Soon we descended down and asylum and remarkably smooth and felt track down to the outskirts of Arrowtown, another town with gold origins but still thriving today. On the way to the holiday park we stopped at the candy shop and of course got some fudge. We got to the holiday park at five-ish and set up camp and showered, and quite soon were eating a fabulous dinner at Slow Cuts in town. We are so close to Queenstown and are going to bed excited to finally see this apparent Mecca of the outdoors tomorrow.