Again Applogies in advance for typos – but im dam tired, wanted to get these posts written up before I hit the Takitimu’s tomorrow
This section began with a 33km walk from twizel to the Glen Mary Ski Lodge at lake Ohau. I didnt manage to get walking until lunchtime, so it got dark before I reached the Ski Lodge. Walking along the Ohau road was fine though and I knew where I was going as I had been there before. I checked all of the doors on the lodge but none were open(no suprises here), so as it wasnt raining, I was tired and couldnt be bothered pitching the snail, I slept on the back door step. Wish I had taken a photo of this one because it was pretty dam funny.
Next morning up and away to climb 800m up Freehold Creak to the pass. Clear weather but a bit of a chilly wind, the pass was long and boggy, descending the other side was similar. I was aiming to get to the Ahuriri river but decided it would be unwise to cross the river in the fading light, so camped in a pine plantaion forrest about 1k from the river. A windy night. The weather was changing.
The crossing in the morning was fine, deepest flow was up to my knee but only for about 2m or so. They say that the hills in this area have the ability to move. In this case it was the river bank. It was shifting infront of my eyes. RABBITS. thousands of them. I wish I had a gun…the hunter tendancys in me were awakend. I was reminded of one of my favourite quotes
“The Rabbit is like the wind, it gets in your face and mess’s up your hair”
You have to be quite careful walking accross the feilds in the area as they are so uneven from diggings and full of anckle twisting rabbit holes.
Not far on from the river and the rabits I arrived at the Birchwood Road carpark (the spot I was aiming for the night before but didnt quite make it) and I seem to have stumbled without realising it another hunt. right infront (literally 2 or 3 meters) of me a Rekereke or New Zealand Falcon was in hot pursuit of a mohua who was trying to hide underneth the track entrance gate. Wow! a rare native bird being pursued by another rare native bird. The felcon I think was a bit of a poser and let me take some photos of him sitting on the fence post between launching his attacks. Im not sure if the Mohua got away or not as he made a dash for some Matagouri bushes not to far off but I lost sight of him.
I was now headed for Marthar saddle, going was relativly easy as it was on a farm track all the way. After 3 km or so it began to rain, then it began to snow. Then I started to run because it was faster. there was a private hut marked on the map, so I decided to get to that, I figured even if it was locked there would at least be a side of the hut that was out of the wind, or I could shelter in the loo. I was so, so so happy when I arrived at Tin Hut to find it not only open, but full of firewood and had a comfy chair. Pretty cold and wet I lit the fire and had a brew to warm up, the snow was comming in thick.
even though it was only 12.30 I decide that if it didnt ease up I would stay here the night. By 1.30 there was blue sky again. on I went. On the ascent to Marthar saddle it started snowing. oh well. The track its self was a bulldozer track so it was very easy underfoot I pushed on over the saddle down the other sided to Upper Timaru Hut.
Unfortunatly, I arrived to a full hut. Full of hunters. they had been choppered in and it was there last night, they were friendly and were very appologetic about not having any space in the hut, and made me a cup of tea. They seemed mighty impressed that I had walked all the way from the otherside of the Ahuriri.
I pitched the snail, put on all of my clothes and hunkered down for the night. It was a bloody cold night too. foolishly, dispite a little voice in my head saying ‘bring your gear into the inside of the fly’ I left my shoes, sox and Gaiters out side of the tent. not only were my shoes, sox and gaiters frozen solid, but there was a thick layer of ice lineing the inside of the snail. I had to massage my shoes and shoelaces to get my feet into them.
As the hunters were getting their chopper that day, they were packing up and gave me a heap of food. I downed 4 oranges, 2 oranges a banana flavoured ‘Up n Go’, half a packet of gingernuts, about 12 chocholate fingers, the took of down the river. great breakfast.
It was a bluebird day, the track notes said that it was 5 to 6 hours down the river track then another 2 hours up to Stodys hut. The river section was only 12 km and I thought “That cant possibly take 5-6 hours its only 12k”. Hahaha. It took me 5hours, in places the river travel was quite tretcherous, I was glad that there was the river level wasnt any higher, as it would have made some sections very scary.When you are walking on such demanding terrain and you have to make a consious desision about every single foot placement and hand placemnt it is very tireing. Climbing out of the river valley was steep but relativly quick about 80min.
Stodys hut was fantastic. The most rustic hut I have stayed in yet, an old mustering hut with a dirt floor, open fireplace and friendly mice. dried out all of my gear from the frosty night before, had a feed, and watched the fire until all of the wood I gathered had burnt out. the hunters had given me a frieze dried desert of Apple Pie (yumo) and I had the best sleep i’d had in ages.
Next morning another cold but blue one. Climbed up to the ridge and motored along at cracking speed, I would get out to Hawea today. I love the walkout days. the view from the ridge was truely majestic, Mt Aspiring never looked so good.
On the way down from Breast Hill, I met a lady coming up for a day walk Lucy, she offered me a lift into Wanaka. Hell Yeah. We ended up having some great yarns and exchanged contacts for possible future adventures. neat 🙂