A Couple Short Walks

Chromite Mine Walk 
It was a new track that had been cut to make a visit to the old mine shafts a circular tramp from a short way along the Hacket Track in the Mt Richmond Forest Park, so off we went.

We chose to do the steep part first which was also the first junction off the main track to the Hacket Hut and beyond. It was steep too and still fairly rough, that went through scrub with some native trees and after climbing and scrabbling along we came to the Lunch Pine, a large radiata pine, so we stopped for morning tea. After this we carried on, reaching the Serpentine Saddle where we had lunch. We were on the mineral belt and walking over rocks which contain traces of copper, chromium and nickel plus small deposits of Dunite and serpentine. 

Rocks built up the track.

One of the old mine shafts.

Here during the mid 1860’s, they mined for the chromite which was used to make a mauve coloured dye in the cotton industry and the blue chrome salts were used for tanning leather. The American civil war caused a collapse in the price of chromite, the result of the Southern States being blockaded  by the North so the mining here came to an abrupt stop.


From here on we where walking on an old cutline, the Old Chromite Road, that carried the ore out by bullock drawn carts for transport to the Nelson port. To make this track for the carts, considerable effort went into building up one side of the track with stone work which is mostly still in place today. Two species of flowering Gentians (one maybe Gentianella stellata?) were growing here and there along the edges of the track.


To Parachute Rock – only 2 hours.

Up a Hill and Down a Bit

St Arnaud Range  
Buddy and Jet asked if I’d like to come with them for a walk up to Parachute Rock at St Arnaud, Nelson Lakes National Park, then up to the ridge above and down the other side a bit to stay the night. 
We left after lunch for St Arnaud and then started the steady climb through the beech forest to Parachute Rock. From here the beech give way to tussock but the climb didn’t seem to take very long as we browsed  along looking for any alpine plant that was still flowering. Up on the top ridge the choice was to find an easy way down to a level spot to bed down for the night. Buddy and Jet had a tent while I spread my sleeping bag cover, heated up and ate my tea. By then the sun had sunk below the top ridge and the air turned very chilly. The best place was tucked down in my sleeping bag with tussock on either side.

On the top ridge looking down into the Rainbow River. Buddy and Jet returning from a morning walk.

Just before sunrise the cold woke me but I sleepily watch the Eastern hills and sky changing to all sorts of shades of mauve, pink, red, and yellow. There seemed to be more colour before the sun peeped above the horizon but it was warmer though. Slightly. 

On the top ridge St Arnaud.

After breakfast we had a wander about, looking down on the tarns. There were a number scattered about the two basins that we could see from our campsite. Packed up and then a trudge up to the main ridge again to look down on Lake Rotoiti and the village of St Arnaud and so to home. On the way though, it was good to carefully look over the scree slopes for the perfectly camouflaged small alpine plants that grew here.  

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