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Mark Church: 29th December 2010: Attempting access from South of Perserverance Road

Hazel Stone, Jaron Hart and myself (Mark Church) drove from Christchurch on the evening of Monday 27th December and camped en route near Springs Junction in torrential rain. The next morning it was still raining and we continued driving to Reefton despite the road being flooded in many places. Shortly after we got there all the roads had become closed including the way we had just come, so we had to spend the day there. This allowed us to dry out our tent and gear by stringing it up at the seemingly abandoned railway station. We amused ourselves at the Visitor Information centre and did a short walk via an old hydro power station before staying the night in a budget motel. We later heard that the storm was a 1 in 100 year event.

The next day was clear and we set off. Initially we left the car at the start of Perseverance Rd where there was a "Road Closed" sign and started walking. A friendly council worker assessing the road stopped and offered me a lift back to the car as he said we could still drive a bit further to where Fletcher Creek had washed out the road on the opposite end of the bridge. He suggested taking a detour along a 4WD track which led to a plantation and we took his advice as it meant we didn't have to cross Coll Creek or Fletcher Creek twice on the way up. From the plantation we struck East through the bush, navigating by compass, to meet another 4WD track which was overgrown with gorse. This is the track we would have turned onto had we continued down Perserverance Road and it leads to the foot of Mt Copernicus. The plan was to take the Southernmost spur (just before Stony Creek) all the way to the top, however I got talked into going straight up from where we were on the highest point on the track. We were doing pretty well through dense bush (apart from my four wasp stings) and it wasn't too bad following the ridgelines up, however we ended up at the top of a hill from which there was a sheer drop in our way and Jaron informed us his knee was pretty sore and getting worse. We would have had to go back down then try to find the right way up and we were only half way there, so we decided to quit altogether and come back down.

It was a long walk down and we took the overgrown 4WD track straight back to Perseverance Road as we didn't mind getting wet from the river crossings on the way out. We arrived back at the car and headed home.

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