Blizzard Pot

Group trips to Nettlebed don't happen that often, so I was keen to get in on the action when a Blizzard Pot trip came up on the agenda recently. Plans were made and five of us headed up to Murchison to meet a sixth at the pub where some of us ordered dinners much too large for our stomachs. For future reference the battered blue cod is really four fillets of cod with a generous portion of fries and salad so make sure you are really hungry before ordering... after eventually finishing most of the food we went up the road and camped beside the Motueka River.

After some faffing the next morning, we headed up to the Pearse to drop a car then the six of us squeezed into M's car for the trip up to Flora saddle.  Because there was no loo at our campsite, the one at the Flora carpark got a hiding as everyone was attempting to avoid having to go in the cave.  Once everyone was sufficiently evacuated we wandered up to Arthur Hut, said hi to the Hut Weka, continued up the mountain, slid down the snow covered tussock back to the bushline, and started looking for the entrance. 

A short while later I found the entrance and whistled the others over.  We had a quick lunch as the wind was chilly, and proceeded down the entrance pitches.  M headed down the first pitch but neglected to take his pack - he was quickly reunited with it as none of us wanted to carry it for him.  A couple of squeezes in the entrance pitches kept everyone honest, one vertical on-rope squeeze in particular had me doing my best skinny person impression.  Our system of leapfrogging ropes meant that we made steady progress through the cave.

After some time we made it down all the main pitches - the only snag being we got the rope stuck pulling down from the last pitch, but after 5 minutes of trying different angles and flicking the rope around we got it unstuck and proceeded into the large chamber that is Yellow Brick Road.  After some encouragement we managed to get A (who sings in a choir) to sing us a tune which sounded superb - I think we were all slightly mesmerized for a brief moment in the darkness.  After more snacks (I was slowly working my way through an entire lemon cake which K made for me to take on the trip) we were off down the mountain to the Funk Hole.  The Funk Hole turned out to be not nearly as long and tortuous as I was expecting it to be, but it did take some time and by the time we got squished out the bottom it was 6.30pm.  We went for a quick side trip down Diamond Alley to look at a few pretty things, we headed for our campsite at Salvation Hall which H assured us was only 15 minutes away.  My own memory told me that this might be an optimistic estimate, and this turned out to be the case as we rolled into camp at around 8pm. 

Hot water was quickly arranged, and not too long after we were all asleep.  As the sixth member of the group I had brought my own sleeping bag, and because the camp is only designed to sleep 5 I ended up sleeping on a not very flat section of the floor, and a drip right above my face that dripped about once an hour ensured that this was not the best sleep of my life.  As it turned out not many of the others had slept particularly well either, so nobody was too upset when my alarm went off an hour early at 6am (which because of daylight savings was 5am old time).

The next morning was mainly filled with debate on the merits of pooping now, or trying to hold on for another five hours until we were out of the cave.  5 out of 6 opted for the preemptive poop.  Thankfully between Salvation Hall and the entrance is mostly pleasant, upright and relatively horizontal caving which was a nice change from the day before.  The downside being of course that you get wet and cold near the end going through The Ducks and the Hinkle Horn Honking Holes.  I found the Honking Holes a lot less unpleasant than the last time I went through them, and in fact none of us had really any trouble at all with them.

We had an uneventful trip back out - the sun was shining which was a pleasant surprise.  An even more pleasant surprise was that the landowner Baz turned up to meet us in the carpark with tea, coffee, biscuits and cold beer!  There had been a lot of development on his land since my last trip here and it was interesting to hear his plans for the area.  I shall be looking forward to hot showers and a bbq next time I come out of the cave!

| September 29th, 2018 | Posted in Storytime |

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