The weather was looking average one weekend recently, but not too back sort of South of Christchurch, so Friday night we settled on a location, with a good point of interest: Excellent Saddle. Hopefully it would live up to its name… it sort of picked itself really. Saturday morning we got underway early, not quite as early as we would have liked but that was entirely my fault sleeping in a bit too late. None the less we were underway before lunchtime so not too bad really.
A heavy discussion on a range of politics within sport got us across the vast river flats of the Wilberforce to Kiwi Flat. From here we started our river bed scramble up Kiwi Stream. It was quite a cool little stream with some gorge like parts to it but nothing too extreme. Eventually we got to the tops where it was a little bit misty. The higher we got the visbility got worse and what looked like an easy saddle to spot excellent was actually not. I dragged us to a not so excellent saddle to the left of where we needed to be. It looked exposed but doable, however my sensible side kicked in and we made our way down and around to a saddle much more worthy of the name Excellent. The going was fairly easy here into Pukeko Stream, the lower we got the wetter it got however and when we got to the Moa Stream Hut just on dark it was pretty much raining.
My worst fear was alleviated when we arrive to find only one other person in the hut. We did disturb his peaceful evening to himself a little with our after dark arrival. The next morning we found ourselves with the option of heading straight back out to the car or continuing for some more adventure up the North Branch of Moa Stream. We of course chose the latter and head up into the Moa Basins and through Moa Saddle into the Unknown.
We were treated to a nice view at the saddle and a wet and wild steep descent down to the river bed. Then the river bed bash began. It was a long way down the river bed to the Wilberforce, then an even longer way down to the car. Just as we had got used to the fact we might need to be walking for another 2 hours we came across our friend from the hut who offered us a lift.
We thought it might be much shorter in the car, but the rough going meant it was almost 1 hour of driving to get back to the car, not too much faster than walking, but much appreciated all the same!