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EXPEDITION TO SUTHERLAND FALLS

(Oontioned ) Next morning was fine. Oar provisions bad now run out, bo Brodie and I started for the camp at the lower end of the track to get a supply. The traok was bad enough before, but it was worse now. About a mile and a half down we found our way b'ocked ; a landBlip had driven the trees down over the track, and immense trees, torn up by the roots, were lyiog about m all directions. Scrambling over the trees, and cutting our way through the branched for a quarter of a mile, we came upon a bare spot where the slip had oleared away all vegetation and left no trace of the track. We hunted about for some time and found the continuation of it.' A few yards farther on an enormoun avalanche of snow, mud, and stones had completely buried the sorub, and, falling aoross the river, had dammed it up for a time: We experienoed considerable difficulty m crossing this, on account of the orevioea formed by the melting snow. Eventually picking up the track near the river, we crossed over after some difficulty owing to the swiftness of the current. We arrived at the lower camp, after having been six hours on the way, to find that the camp had been submerged m the flood and our provisions carried away and destroyed, except a few tina of preserved meat. The canvas boat was gone and one of the cameras mined, and enough glass was lying about m the shape j of damaged " dry plates " to make a decent greenhouse. Here was a pretty go. Our tent was seven feet above the water, and the flood ; line was 10 feet above that, 17 feet of a rise. We found that Burton's party had been oamped on a rise about 10 feet above our camp since Tuesday. The water having been up to their tent, they had plaoed their whole supply of biscuits under our fly the night they came up, and the flood had destroyed them also. Wyinks and Davis had come with them and were forced to remainduring the storm. They had left before we arrived, purposing to bring a supply of provisions that evening, and we deoided to await their arrival, as we thought our stock of tinned stuff would not go far. Next day (Sunday) it rained, and there was no boat. We began to look very glum, and all sorts of surmises were mooted as to the oause of the delay. Monday morning came, and there was still no sign of the boat. We out down trees and started to construct a raft to go down the lake, but the sodden timber would not float and we had to abandon the attempt; Moody, Burton, and I, taking, a portion of the tinned meat, started for the Falls, leaving Brodie, who had cut himself severely during the day. We arrived m time to partake of the last of the tuoker m the upper camp, whioh consisted oi boiled kakapos and oatmeal. Muir and the other chaps m the hut gave the kakapo soup to us, and " did" the tinned moat as a ohange. Tuesday. — Muir had been right up to the Falls the day before, and now he piloted Moody and me to the spot. On the way up the scenery was magnih'oent. Tfere day was warm and bright, and the sandflies were out m force. We found that a large portion of the Falli had been hidden from our view by the trees m the foreground, and it was not until we got within three hundred yards from the bottom of the Falls that their full magnitude could be realised. I wanted a nearer view, so I went to within a hundred and fifty feet of the Fall and beoame enveloped m the mist of spray. The water falls into a deep basin, surrounded by immense rooks bare of vegetation; and for a considerable distanoe round the , basin gleamed a series of oiroles of all the colors ol the rainbow. The effect was exceedingly beautiful, and np description of whioh J am capable could do juatiae tp the scene. Rooking up through the glimmering vapour one oould see m the far distance the water bounding over the ledges at the different leap?. The Falls comes over Jn three leaps, and it is now khown that the whole Fall is 1904 feet high and springs out of a depression between Mounts M'Kenzio and Pilans, The faoe of the rook appears as if it were perpen* dioular for a considerable distanoe on eaoh side of the Fall and curved like a portion of an amphitheatre, so that the wonderful spectacle is visible from all sides. Muir had now taken all the views that he wanted, so we started on the retura journey; We reached the lower camp at about seven o'clock m the evening, and an hour later the ■urvey party arrived on their way up to the Falls, Mr Wyinks, wry) had gone up for the provisions on Saturday; and bad found considerable obstruction m the way' of geiting the boat to corns back with, now produaad a ■apply of biscuits, whigh he had with great difficulty brought up from the sound. He had our heartfelt gratitude for his fcindnesg, We stood around that bag of bisoqits for nearly an hour, munohing all the time. On the following day (Wednesday, the 10 th Ootober) our party ,with Wyinks and Davis, went down the Lakes, leaving Adama and party to prooeed to the falls. On the way down we discovered the canvas boat stranded on some eorub. Farther down we landed on a sandbank island, until Wyinks and Davis went op Joe's River (so named after Sutherland's dog) to look for Messrs M'Kecpie and Pilans. This island is composed of mica and quartz sand, glittering like silver, with a little sorub growing on it; From this point we pb» tamed a view of the most striking soenery on Lake Ada. Looking west we saw Terror Peaks— a row of jagged snowy mountain topi rising to a great height, — and Giant's Gate — a narrow ravine with perpendicular sides, leading into the mountains.. Jfc is aajd that no one has been through this gorge on acoouat of the danger from falling ayalanohes, On the opposite side of the lake, north of Joe's River, rises Oastle mountain, forming a striding feature m the landscape. On the side of this mountain we observed a beautiful little waterfall called the Ribbon Fall. It looked exceedingly pretty shimmering through the dark foliage that formed the foreground of the picture. All round the lake dense bu§h grows to the water's eAga, The boat returned without the explorers, and we oontinued our journey down the lake. As we near the Bunger Hut, the lake narrows and small islands are seen covered with bush. They look like floating islands. When we arrived at the hut we found a note from Captain Fairohild, of the Stella, who had been there an hour before, to Bay that the mail bag had been left at the " city " for the party, so we pushed on expecting to find him m the Sound, but ha bad left immediately, and we went for the news that he had brought us. Next morning Muir and I took the ma}l to I^ake Ada. It was a splendid morning, and, haying no swags to carry, we oould take time to admire the beautiful saenery on the river traok. Securing the boat at the landing on the Arthur, the traveller finds himself on a bush traok, about oft wide, and arched over by the trees. All round are to be seen ground and tree ferns m great variety, Jn places the track skirts the bank of the riyear, and little pictures of exquisite beauty are to be seen through the foliage at eVery turn, especially at one "place where the river widens, forming a small lake called The Lagoon, whioh was literally swarming with paradise ducks, blue duoks, and teal. ,It was of no use shooting at them, as, without' t deg they could not be reoovered; so they floated and 'flew aboujj; the lakelet undisturbed. It is a beautiful spot, desp m the aptftude of the wood, where the treei dip their branches m jthe water ; the only sounds are the cry of the waterfowl, broken by the call of the bell-bird, the coo of the wood-pigeon, and the hoarse oroak of the ka-ka, which flit about m the branches overhead. In the words of the pqsi ; — A gem-like lake,' BUTrountfed by a mighty forest: Where the moist earth fed So plenteamly all weed-hidden roots Into o'er hanging boughs; '. And it had gloomy shades, sequestered deep, Where no man went: The path went winding through the palmy fern, Stems thronging $11 around between the swell Of tuft and slanting branches. Who could tell the freshness of the tpaoe of heaven above Lodged round with dark tree tops ? Through whioh a dove Would often beat its wings, and often too A little cloud woutd move across the blue. The traok has- on the whole been well formed. The abrupt rises are provided with steps formed with fern-tree trunks bedded m the clay, and the little^ereeka are bridged, so that lady tourists conld yuit Lake Ada with comfort, On Friday, Messrs M'Eenzie and Fillans returned from an nnsuooessful attempt to get td Lake Te Anau by way of Joes River. They stayed with us until she lsth (Sunday), when they BQi out again for another attempt, this time by the* W.ay °* l b e head wate *s of J toe Portion BiTer; r 3Jf Wj » joty tiw with^j

them. The party at the city now numbered eight. Mr M'Kenzie was the life of the company, and initiated various Bohemea to pass pleasantly the time we were together. A meeting was called and we formed an Alpine Club, and m all solemnity we debated the various matters concerning the same, with the eagerness of a party of stonewalling parliamentarians. Mr Sutherland oiled and set going bis 4-tune musical box, and one of tbe (vags of the party remarked m a hollow whisper that it was •• fortun-ate" that the audience and the music were so much m unison. The epring had long since worn out, or broken, and had been replaced by an ingenious contrivance of corke and weights like those of an old-fashioned eightday dock. The music was aU very well so long as the weights kept dear, but occasionally they stuck together and then the music would slow down, until at leng h we excruoiatedly waited for the next note. Presently it would go off with a rattle and a bang, and finish up the tune m double quick time by way of apology. This musical box became one of the troubles of our existence; It would go off m the middle of the night and wake as all up, and then the acoompaniments were both loud and deep. - The various points of interest m the Sound were well explored during the following week, while the surveyors were calculating the height of the Falls. Episodes of which Mark Twain could have made a great deal were continually happen* ing ; but I will relate only another incident whioh was comioal, with a deoided spice of seriousness about it. One morning one of the party, who ia not addioted to early rising, got up, lit the fire, and made breakfast. It was oatmeal porridge, and he made a big supply. It was fairly divided, and he tackled his share manfully, whilst his unsuspecting oomrades could not negotiate more than half theirs. The porridge was more than usually satisfying, and we were at a loss to disoover what was the matter with it. ' We had no appetite for more than 12 hours after — he had mistaken (?) the Eno's Fruit Salt for common talt. On the 25th (Saturday) we were surprised to see Sutherland, and with him a stranger, who turned out to be Mr M'Kinnon, He had arrived at the Poseidon River tbe day before from Te Anau overland, being the first person to make the journey. He proved to be a flrßt-rate fellow. He was good company, and dearly loved a joke. The " Bosun " (aged 15), who rather prided himself on his powers of endurance, plied Mr M'Kinnon with questions, and expressed a wish to go over the Saddle to Te Anau with him; M'Kinnon dryly said, " 1 would be very glad to take you, but I have not got a bag big enough to hold you." M'Kenzie and Pilians were waiting at the Poßeidon River. They were to go together with him across to Te Anau, and, as there was room for another m the tent, Fred Muir deoided to accompany them, and took his camera with him, m order to photograph some of the beautiful soenery on the Clinton Eiver. He got some very beautiful views while at the Falls, and I was entrusted with tha delivery of all his plates to Mr Morris m Dunedin. Tbe surveyors came down from the Falls on the 21st, and the remaining members of the expedition collected at the " cit*," We gave up the hut to the surveyors, ana pitched our tent. Provisions were running out, and we had to content ourselves "with short allowance. One night, at about 10 o'clock, we had a regular blow out.' Brodie made an enormous " duff " without plums, and we invited some of our friends to bring their sugar with them and help to eat it. On the 26th, at about 7 a.m. we heard the welcome whistle of a steamer, and soon the g.s; Mawhera came to the buoy' We paoked up, and by the time the boat came ashore everything was ready for leaving. We sailed for Dunedin direct at about 10.30, Sutherland being left alone, as his mates went round with us. We Bhall not soon forget Sutherland's kindness to our party. His hut and boat were freely placed at our disposal. We bade him farewell, and left behind the scene of the mo9t varied and- delightful hqliday a colonist has ever had the good fortune to enjoy.

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18881114.2.25

Bibliographic details

EXPEDITION TO SUTHERLAND FALLS, Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 1996, 14 November 1888

Word Count
2,384

EXPEDITION TO SUTHERLAND FALLS Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 1996, 14 November 1888

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