Go Native follow Nathan James of Adventures from the South, who challenged himself to take up a 529 adventure. The idea behind it is to leave for an outdoor adventure at 5pm and arrive back ready by 9am the next day. Can he show us a different way to get outside and enjoy the outdoors...
529 started with an ambition to get out of the everyday grind and mix it up with a bit of adventure. A way to refresh the brain, awaken the soul and fill the lungs with fresh air. I wanted to defeat the idea that getting into the outdoors requires a long weekend or a holiday. To prove people wrong. I selected the location of Pinchgut Hut track for my first 529 adventure. The start of the track to Pinchgut Hut is around an hour's drive from Christchurch. It's a 10 bunk hut that would provide shelter for the little sleep we were able to get.
Pinchgut Hut is a track that I recommend for all, whether it be your first tramp, your child's first overnight hike or a quick getaway from the daily grind. The track is easy walking leading through forest, following alongside the Okuku river. Along the way there are plenty of places to stop, take a break and admire the scenery. Whether it be splashing around in a waterfall, throwing rocks into the river or rock hopping your way along, the track to Pinchgut Hut provides plenty to experience. Finishing at a cosy hut to top off a day's walking what more could you want? Being only a stone throw away from Christchurch it's a hike not to be missed!
The road to the start of the track runs through a farm following Taaffes Glen road. It's well off the beaten track and there isn't much to show where the track is. The road traveled to access the start of the track crosses a ford which may prove difficult in a town car. We parked up on the grassy flats, which provided ample room for the car. There are a few spots further down the road but not knowing what lay ahead, we took the first option we saw.
The track begins with a river crossing, which should not be attempted after periods of heavy rain when the river is in a swift flow. Richard and I both took our boots off, walking barefoot through the river to save our dry boots and socks. The trail from this point onwards is mellow, and there are no other significant river crossings that will end in wet boots. It is easy to pick up a bit of pace once you get the legs swinging!
Starting later in the evening meant the light would poke its way in-between the trees and put on a beautiful show as we wound our way beneath the forest. It provided a beautiful setting for some nice shots. The forest provides good shelter from the wind and rain but tends to be colder as it blocks out more sun. Make sure to carry extra layers to keep yourself nice and toasty.
Along the track there is a waterfall that is well worth a quick stop to fill your water bottle. Perfect spot to give your face a quick wash in the morning of the return journey.
4.7km into the journey, you need to engage your inner boulder hopping ability to make it around the bend in the Okuku. On the other side, we were greeted with a quick cardio session as we climbed up and away from the river. The route stays high as it winds its way round to the valley where Pinchgut stream flows. This part of the track takes on an easier descent; much more smooth and forgiving. With the sun sinking low behind the hills, the challenge of not tripping and stumbling was on. We knew we weren't far away from Pinchgut Hut once we hit a wider vehicle track. When we arrived, there was no hesitation in pulling out the cooker and heating a billy of water.
On this trip, I trialed Go Native's Vegetable Curry packs. A complete package of food that is able to keep you fuelled for 24 hours. It was simple - put the curry packs in the boiling water and let them heat up. We used the same pot of hot water to cook our rice for a complete meal. They were so convenient and time-efficient, providing an unbeatable taste to satisfy our hunger!
The next morning, we were up well before dawn with 4:30am alarms ringing. We had laid out breakfast the night before, and being the hungry young lads we are, devoured the breakfast muesli with ease. Still being pretty hungry, lunch disappeared, and the remaining snacks were in the pack to fuel our ‘get out of here’ mission. It was frustrating to see how many possums were sitting up in the trees near the track, glaring at us as we hustled back to the car.
The experience of walking while the stars were still up, and seeing the sunrise, was an epic way to start the day. We were back in Christchurch by 8:30am, having left the carpark at 7:30am. I was even able to sneak in a shower before my first class that day - success! When the days become longer and the sun shines late in the day, I will be back in the wild completing a more of these adventures. Mission accomplished.