Pushed north with a 4 day walk that took me from Otira , with a tense crossing of the still swollen Otira river , up the Taramakau river valley , over Harper’s Pass , skirting Lake Sumner before finally popping out on SH7 close the Boyle village / Hanmer Springs . Some big days and something over 100 kms of walking . But who’s counting , as the days and distance merge the stats seem oddly irrelevant.
Caught the Tranz Alpine train up from Springfield where I left the rig . The trip was stunning with the new dump of snow that had fallen whilst I was waiting out the rainy weather .
DOC advised I wait another 24 hours before setting off as rivers were still dangerously high and the melt from the snow dump was going to keep the flow going for a while longer .
Had relaxed day at the Sanctuary backpackers with a few others TA walkers some SOBO’s and some NOBO’s
Apparently the huts built on this section was from the days when this walk was being promoted as another “Milford track “ experience.
No dry feet days with multiple river crossings everyday and starting to worry about trench foot .
Towards the end of day 2 that finished at Huranui Hut the group of Tim , Maira and Isaac caught me and we had a pleasant evening catching up on everything since I’d last seen them near the Rakaia river .
My last hut was Kiwi Hope Hut , and as chance would have it a hunter couple were in residence and with fresh venison aplenty I was offered a whole hind leg to carry out the next day . What carnivore could decline the kind offer . With a 6 hour walk back to the highway the thought of the extra weight did give me momentary pause . Thankfully Peter kindly skinned and deboned the leg and I only had to carry the actual meat .
As I made my way out towards the car park , in anticipation of hitching all the way back south then west to Springfield I stopped at a water source , stripped and had a decent wash before redressing in my least smelly shorts and tee shirt ( hut clothes )
It would be unpleasant , not to mention embarrassing if folk picked you up only to find an unpleasant sweaty odour permeating the car .
I needed to get back down to Christchurch ( 170 kms !! ) The back west to Springfield , another 65 kms
As I crossed the style into the car park I met this lovely couple who just happened to have pulled in to check out the views. A very short introduction was made and an incredibly generous offer to join them on their road trip to Christchurch was accepting with gratitude. I offered them the venison , which they declined as they had other more important matters to attend . Amanda was due the following day to receive the implant of one of her fertilised embryos so much excitement was about and anticipation to boot.
We chatted all the way to Christchurch, Amanda happy to have someone to bounce off as kms clicked by . Finally arrived at the clinic where Amanda needed to get a rapid antigen test for clearance for the morrow while John and I waited at a cafe .
After saying goodbye, I roamed the streets for a time before getting an Uber to the Bus interchange , then a local bus to Darfield before 2 lifts up to Springfield . Was back by 6 pm