Mount Richardson

28 01 2018

As a contrast to flat geotrails alongside braided rivers, today’s (Saturday 26th Jan) adventure was more vertically inclined. New Zealanders were early to adopt geocaching and as I have noted in earlier posts I have found some of the worlds first geocaches here. See https://ds8300.wordpress.com/2012/02/10/old-caches/ and https://ds8300.wordpress.com/2011/01/17/north-island-tour/

The cache placed on Mount Richardson (1048 (Canterbury)) wasn’t quite in the “oldies” category but it was placed in 2006 when there weren’t so many caches in the world and many of the New Zealand cachers were also keen hikers (or trampers as they are called in the country). It has been on my “to find” list since it was placed together with Bealey made it (Southern Alps). The latter is at 1836m and the walk there is tough, hence the 5/5 D/T rating. The cache on Mt. Richardson as the name suggests is at 1048m which sounds much easier. The D/T rating is a mere 3/4,5!

So I jumped into the car early in the morning and drove up to the Glentui Bush parking area. I had been here before in 2011 in order to find Fall’n Glentui Bush (Canterbury) – a Letterbox Hybrid cache from 2001. As it was afternoon when I did that cache I decided it was too late in the day to go for a walk up Mt Richardson.

After putting on my hiking boots and rucksack I set off. 08:10 pip! It was around 18C and a pleasant morning. There had been some mist on the drive up from Christchurch but that had burnt off. It was going to be a hot one.

When I first decided to do 1048 there were only the two caches in the area. Now there are nine on the 12 km round trip walk. The preferred route is to walk up to Mt Richardson on the Mr Richardson Track then across the Blowhard Track that follows the ridge to the Bypass Track that comes down to Glentui Bush.

As I puffed and panted my way up the steep track I realised that the pneumonia that I had last year was still affecting my lung capacity. I was pleased to stop at Halfway Hill for an easy find.

Guess where the cache is?

I hadn’t bothered to bush bash at the first cache reasoning that I would look for it on the way down. As I neared the summit a young woman came romping up the track as if it was a Sunday walk in the park. I guess my forty years extra age DO make a difference. I arrived at the summit at 10:06. PiP! Less that two hours! Not bad. We talked at the summit after I had bashed around the bush which had grown substantially over the twelve years that had passed since the cache was placed. The hint “At base of ~1m high alpine plant, access from south side of shubbery” suited a large number of bushes. Luckily, I found the cache. As I returned to the summit a young guy came up the track with a mountain bike across his shoulders! Talk about being enthusiastic! You can see the bike next to me.

The blog author at the top of Mt. Richardson.

After a short rest I carried on only to be overtaken by a guy running along the trail! By now the temperature was up around 26C and the sky was blue with the sun beating down. At You’ll Huff and You’ll Puff (Canterbury) it was time for lunch. From there on it was more or less downhill all the way. You may think that was great but I can tell you it’s tough on the knees and thighs. About 1 km from the car, my legs felt like jelly and I had to tread carefully so I didn’t wobble over the edge of the track into nothingness.

I missed a couple of caches on the way. Why do people insist in hiding micros, even if they call them small, in the middle of nowhere? Waste of time. I was pleased to have been able to tick “1048” off my list and after a couple of days of walking on the flat my sore thighs recovered. The walk had taken 5 and a half hours in total including the stops for lunch and caching.

I followed the trail clockwise from the car park at the bottom of the map.

The hike up Mt Richardson was the most memorable of my geocaching days on NZ this trip, but I made a mental note to cross Bealey off my to do list.

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