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Located along State Highway 73, just 40km east of Arthur’s Pass and an hour west from Christchurch, Craigieburn Forest Park, in addition to its many walking tracks, is one of the few inland areas where dogs are allowed. In early December, 2006 we decided to take our dog Kuri and team up with our friends M and C1 and their daughter C2, along with their dogs Chewbaca and Leo and head out for a leisurely Sunday tramp. Our goal for the afternoon was to walk to Lyndon Saddle and continue to Lyndon Hill (Helicopter Hill).

It is interesting to note that in California dogs are not usually allowed on beaches, but it is often just fine to take a dog to the mountains, while in New Zealand dogs are usually allowed on beaches (outside of manned lifeguard stations) and generally are not allowed in inland mountainous areas.

This track is very popular with mountainbikers, and everyone seemed to get along together well. Much of the track winds through shady beech forest, at least up to the saddle leading to the Lyndon Hill summit, where the ridgeline becomes more exposed.

The forest is lush green, with mosses covering the forest floor like carpeting and green leafy plants attaching wherever they can find a place.

Under the shade of the beech trees the temperature was nice and mild, a perfect temperature for an uphill walk.

Sometimes we would walk through areas of the forest covered in light, airy moss which resembled sphagnum moss.

We paused at the saddle and grabbed a bite to eat, enjoying the beautiful surrounding beech forest.

Chewy and Kuri tackle M as he takes a break. The dogs seemed to enjoy playing together along the trail.

The summit of Lyndon Hill was covered only in low scrub and allowed for a great view of the surrounding Craigieburn Range.

Just a day or two before there was a bit of a nasty little storm which dumped some snow, some of which lingered on the summit for the dogs to play in.

We had a great view of the valley we ascended, all the way back down to State Highway 73.

Leo enjoyed the view.

After a brief stay at the summit we headed back towards the saddle.

Soon we were walking within the shady ramparts of the beech forest.

M’s daughter C2 was a real trooper.

Kuri enjoyed playing with his new friends and the opportunity to get outside.