Excitement as expedition maps route to West Coast

The West Coast Exploration Party, under the leadership of Mr Vincent Pyke, returned to Clyde yesterday morning.

Messrs Pyke and Coates arrived shortly after 8 o'clock a.m.; the remainder of the party followed later in the day. The whole of the party were in good health, but much travel-worn; their garments were also in a dilapidated condition.

They reached the coast between Jackson's and Bruce Bays, at the mouth of the Haast River, which river they explored for some distance, having found an unused canoe.

They calculate the distance to the coast from Thomson's station, at the head of Lake Wanaka, to be about 110 miles. The road is a practicable one, the Pass very easy. The return journey to the Clyde was made in nine days; but Mr Pyke thinks it might be done in six or seven.

The news of the return of the party caused great excitement.

(From the Dunstan Times): The expedition has been a great success. A track has been opened which can easily be travelled on foot in six days - the exploring party having returned from the coast in nine days, and during that time was occupied in cutting a track through the scrub.

The party followed down the Haast river to the coast, and returning kept the opposite side.

From the information kindly furnished us, we are enabled to give the following particulars of the journey:-On the trip to the West Coast, the progress of the party was much impeded owing to the severe weather and the prevalence of snow.

In the earlier part of the journey, the thickness of the scrub passed through caused a considerable delay. Few traces were met with any previous travellers, everything being in a state of nature. They crossed the Makarora River near its junction with the Lake, taking the mules with them for the first fifteen miles from this point. They then entered dense scrub, which they penetrated for about three miles; they here suffered most intensely from cold, the snow lying thickly, and their only method of getting through the scrub was by bending down the smaller portion of it.

Leaving the scrub they passed through several well grassed flats, which terminated about twenty five miles above the head of the Lake. Heavy scrubs then prevailing, they commenced systematically to cut a track to permit the mules to pass through to the saddle.

At the Fish River they built a bridge across a narrow gorge through which the river runs, and by this means got the mules over.

After this a wet, swampy, moss forest was met with till the pass was reached.

The pass is described as almost a flat, ascending and descending gently to the line which divides the Makarora on the south from Haast on the north.

The Haast, for about eight miles, is described as a rapid shingly river. After this the river, for some twelve miles, runs through gigantic gorges until it is joined by the Burke, and the journey of the party through this distance was attended with many hardships.

After this the journey was through low scrub or over broad shingle, the forest scenery, with the immense mountains as a background, forming a most imposing picture. The remainder of the journey was performed with various interruptions until the coast was reached at the mouth of the Haast.

 

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