Quite often the weather forecast indicates the eastern foothills as being the best place to be for the weekend. In this case, we were going to have a 24 hour window of opportunity. So in the end we climbed Mt Dalgety, a 1752m mountain south of Burkes Pass. This was the highest named peak on the Burkes Pass map. We started at 947m at the Hakataramea Pass and took 1 hour and fifteen minutes to climb it. Frank calculated that to be 640m/hr so he was very pleased. He had a 5 minute break halfway up when he felt his heart booming. He was fine once he resumed the pace.


I was wondering what was going to be unique about this mountain as it looked fairly dull but I soon came across the most prolific and largest red and white snowberries ever. Then Frank startled a wallaby which I didn't get to see but soon after another one loped off and it must've been a buck. It bounded off methodically, in no hurry.


We spent an hour at the summit and were rewarded with a view of Mt Cook as it was unveiled by departing cloud. We got there just before 5pm. We were also able to see several other peaks and ranges in the distance that we'd visited e.g. Fox Peak, D'Archiac and Mt Sealy. We were hoping to check out and spend the night at a musterers' hut. Fortunately at the late hour, (getting onto 8pm) we saw a white ute heading in there so that was lucky. They wouldn't have been impressed to find us there, I imagine.


We camped by the Snowy River in a sheltered spot by the obsolete road that connects from the MacKenzie Pass road turn-off from the Haldon Road. Frank called it the wadi as everywhere else around was fairly bleak but the river bed had patches of grass with numerous metre-wide pretty braids among large willows and matagouri. The horse mushrooms were past their best. In the morning I found 2 that were OK and a puffball and some spearmint which made for a nice salad with balsamic vinegar, mandarins, kumara, cucumber and lettuce for tea tonight.


Actually, on the way there just past Geraldine, I saw what looked like white painted boulders gleaming in the sun and they were the hugest horse mushrooms, basketball size, I imagine and plenty of them. They were over the cockie's fence in a paddock. But we were on a way to a mission so left them in peace.


We went back via the Hakataramea valley and Waimate. The township of Hakataramea is not named! It is signposted as Slip Road and has about 20 houses and a pub along the road. It looks very pretty. Maybe the salmon fishers hang out there. Worth a look next time we're in the neighbourhood. Frank has designs on another mountain nearby - Mt Sutton (1916m) - There is a decent metalled road (going up to a pass which we'll climb from) which I've just checked out on my South Island cadastral map as being a public road so that's good.


When we drove back up to the pass in the morning to head south, I was glancing at the map and saw to my horror that the mountain opposite (Black Rocks) was higher. Bugger, we were going to have to climb that one. It does have a 4WD track going right to the top but that's not allowed...Fortunately we realized the peak is actually not named but known as spot height 1921 and the Black Rocks refer to a feature a bit lower but only 200m away! So we're off the hook. I was wondering when we were on Mt Dalgety why the biggest named peak wasn't on the range opposite because you could tell the summit was actually lower.