Climbing up Bealey Spur is one of the favourite day trips for Canterbury hikers - and gardeners having a day off. They can enjoy big dreams, gazing deep into mountain valleys - high enough to feel important, low enough to be safe.
The Upper Waimakariri
Bealey Spur is in the Southern Alps, and gives amazing views of the Upper Waimakariri and Otira valleys. But there's more! On a clear day one can follow the ridge further up, find a special rock, and think deeply about the meaning of life (or make plans for a new garden area). But if the wind is blowing, or the clouds are scudding in - forget it! There's nothing creative in being above the New Zealand bushline in any sort of weather!
I've walked up Bealey Spur many times. Once, younger son and I stayed in the small hut overnight - that was in winter, and snow stopped any thoughts of exploring further. I remember draping our boots with newspaper (to stop them freezing overnight), and son feeding his biscuits to one small hut mouse.
On a memorable mid-summer trip we took tents and camped overlooking the big Waimakariri river valley. Then we walked for hours up the spur, on a breathtaking windless day. I designed the most brilliant new garden area!
Camping in the Mountains
My lovely daughter was our trip leader, menu consultant, and gourmet camping cook. I still remember the pancakes with maple syrup and bacon for breakfast!
My latest Bealey Spur trip was in spring, with my walking group. There was snow at the hut, a greyness in the sky, a slight nip in the air. The beech trees were draped in eerie ribbons of lichen. To quote our group leader - it's 'a bit of a puff, but worth it'. He was so right!
Whatever the season, two great things about this walk are the variety of landscapes one walks through - bush, open scrubby hillside, beech forest, swamp (on boardwalks) - and the views. But please, show respect for the rustic, rattly, breezy Bealey Spur Hut! It has no dry firewood, and surely by now more than one well-fed mouse is happily domiciled. But the hut brings five star comfort and safety in the bush.
The Bealey Spur Hut
As that famous well-known gardener once said - expect nothing, and you will definitely be rewarded!