Howden - Upper Hollyford - Routeburn - 1932

Friday, 15th Jan.
Left Q’town for Elfin Bay in boat. Party consisted of Dad [William], Uncle George [Macan], Rob Rodger, Murray, and myself. The day was beautifully fine, and we made good time up past Rere Lake. We rested at the Greenstone Falls. All members of the party felt the heat, so going was not extra fast. After fording Steele’s Creek and then the Greenstone, we stayed at Shaw’s Hut, where we met Mr Shaw himself. That night 4 of us slept out in the open, while Uncle George slept in the hut with Shaw.

Saturday 16th Jan.
Another great day. We set out full of good spirits for Howden. Dinner was served just before we entered the bush for the last time, and we arrived at Lake Howden in the early afternoon.

Sunday, 17th Jan..
Went up the Livingstone Range behind Lake Howden. There is a marvellous view to be had from Key Summit. We had dinner & boiled the billy up there. The climb is very easy considering the view obtainable.

Monday, 18th Jan.
Left about 8:30 for Homer. It rained through the night, and the bush was wet, but nevertheless it was a beautiful day, and when we got to Falls Creek, the sun was shining brightly. Falls Creek is a great place. The creek comes dashing over a cliff in a series of falls. We made fairly good time to Monkey Creek, which we forded and then followed the track to Cirque Camp, where the billy was boiled. Homer Hut was reached about 6:30 pm.

Tuesday, 19th Jan.
Today Dad, Murray and I went up Homer’s Saddle and I succeeded in getting up Talbot’s Ladder. There is a grand view from the top. Then we came down and went back to Howden the same day at about 6:30 pm, having left Homer at 10:30 am.

Wednesday, 20th Jan.
Stayed at Howden all day resting, chopping wood, darning sox, etc., while the cook (Rob) baked scones.

Thursday 21st Jan.
Misty in the morning but it soon cleared away. We set off early for Routeburn. ¾ hour sufficed to bring us to the Earland Falls, which come over a rock precipice from a lake – Lake Roberts. The track from here through the bush was pretty rough, but we arrived at Lake McKenzie in time for dinner. Then we took the blazed trail up through the bush and up the zigzag on to the track round Ocean Peak. It was a great day, and the mountains on the other side of the Lower Hollyford Valley were simply wonderful – Mts Christina, Tutoko, and Madeleine all snow covered. To the north, away in the distance, we could see Lake McKerrow. After we had gone round the slopes of Ocean Peak, a stiff but mercifully short climb brought us on the Lake Harris Saddle, and below us lay Lake Harris, a fine example of a deep mountain lake. After some more climbing up round to the right of the lake, the while Routeburn Valley lay spread below us. It was a fine sight. From then on the track went down and down, soon entering the bush, and in an hour after entering this we reached the Routeburn Huts. Above the fireplace in one of the huts is Dad’s name, dated 4-5-11. He was there then.

Friday, 22nd Jan.
Set out for Kinloch early to catch the boat. It was hot day, and the face was hot, too, but we caught the boat, after having morning tea on the road, and wasting time waiting on a lorry which arrived at Kinloch after we did. When we arrived that night at Queenstown, a great feed awaited us at the house, and you may be sure we did justice to it. Eight very enjoyable days.

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extracted from Lindsay Stewart’s Diary (aged 14 yrs 11 mths in Jan 1932)

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