Twig Adventures

Day 84: The Rangitata Detour

February 24th Buicks bridge, Hakatere Heron rd. (km2329) – Potts River Bridge (km2350) Mileage: 13mi/21km plus a whole lotta hitching. We had a big goal for today and it didn’t involve much hiking. We just needed to get past the Rangitata River, a huge braided river similar to the Rakaia. The TA once again dead-ends at the river, requiring a difficult 100 mile hitch down to the only bridge and back up the other side. When river flows are less than 80 cubics, the river can be forded. On this day, the river was flowing at 130 cubics (it reached 300 after the storm) and very much still the color of chocolate milk. It was not a day for crossing,[…]

Read more

Day 83: highs and lows

February 23rd Comyns Hut (km2296) – Buicks bridge, Hakatere Heron rd. (km2329) Mileage: 20.5mi/33km Today I hit my lowpoint on the trail but also had some of the most peaceful moments and best memories. It’s incredible the range of emotions you can go through in one day on the trail. The anxiety came early in the form of pain and adrenaline from 50 crossings of the North Branch Ashburton River and Round Hill Creek. Only the first 20 or so crossings were strenuous, at least. I made the mistake of leaving the hut about 10 minutes behind the main group. This was stupid because as I came over a small hill and down to the river, I could see the[…]

Read more

Day 82: After the Storm

February 22nd Double Hill Run rd trailhead (km2280) – Comyns Hut (km2296) Mileage: 10mi/16km plus 13.7mi/22km walking on the road to the trailhead. I was up early to cook eggs for breakfast but I was still full from all the pizza, guacamole, and ginger beer the night before. All I could stomach for breakfast was some yoghurt. I don’t know what happened to my hiker hunger, but the thought of food just put me off. I needed to get back on the trail. All the school kids were at the i-site waiting for the bus. There were 10 of us: Anna and Tuomas, Bertram, American Hart, German J (Jörn), German-Italian Klaus, Danish Michael, and a Japanese couple, Nobu and Kei.[…]

Read more

Day 80 & 81: Methven Cyclone Zeros

February 20th and 21st Methven It’s one thing to push through inclement weather during a thru-hike, it’s another thing to knowingly walk through something as severe as a cyclone. It was an easy decision to head for a town and then just stay put. The storm lasted 2 full days, so another 2 weather zeros were in order. It worked out really well for me. This is the most inexpensive backpacker that I have stayed at and also quite nice. I didn’t take any pictures of the town the whole time, as the conditions outside were absolute crap. It rained hard for about 48 hrs and temps were in the 40’s. I watched a few movies, caught up on the[…]

Read more

Day 79: Walking to escape Cyclone Gita

February 19th Hamilton Hut (km2233) – Lake Coleridge Village (km2280) Mileage: 29mi/47km Despite the threat of an approaching ex-cyclone (that’s what the weather people are calling it…I prefer the term weather bomb), this was a really great day of walking. It entailed a little bit of everything: a brief forest walk, a valley walk with multiple river crossings, some route-finding, scenic road walking, an overgrown TA connector trail, then finally some good old hitching to town. Anna, Tuomas, Bertram and I were the first out of the hut at 6:30 am, as planned. It’s nice to have such reliable hiking buddies. It had rained a little overnight and the morning was a bit chilly. We started right away with wet-feet[…]

Read more

Day 78: The most elusive petting finally in the bag

February 18th Arthur’s Pass road SH 73 (km2216) – Hamilton Hut (km2233) Mileage: 10.6mi/17km It was another half-town, half- walking day. We could have gone a bit farther to make the next day easier but we ended at a nice hut. Long days following zeros/short days are not that hard, anyways. It’s nice to change it up from day to day. We had to wait awhile to get a hitch out of town, but finally our ride came in the form of an American couple now living in NZ…my idols. I would have liked to talk their ears off about becoming kiwi but unfortunately the ride was too short. We were immersed in conversation and neglected to have them drop[…]

Read more

Day 77: Arthur’s Pass rain zero

February 17th Arthur’s Pass Villiage Mileage: about 3km walking to and from punchbowl waterfall and around town. I slept a bit fitfully overnight. First I was worried about the wind. I pitched my tent as close to some trees for a wind block but my tent was still getting shaken pretty badly. The DOC office later told me that they had gusts of about 60 mph. To add to the suspense over the wind, I would occasionally confuse a passing truck for a strong gust. Oh no, here comes another big one, then no, just a truck on the highway. Ha ha. You feel pretty vulnerable at times, living in a tent. The rain started sometime in the early morning[…]

Read more

Day 76: Pushing to beat the weather, again.

February 16th Kiwi Hut (km2170) – Arthur’s Pass road (km2208) Mileage: 23.6mi/38km Here I am again, recounting a day of big miles over the most difficult of terrain, a solid 12 hour effort. All to beat some more rain. It’s not that I can’t hike in the rain. We proved that 28 kms in the rain is no problem the other day. It’s these river crossings that determine everything. We must have crossed streams or rivers at least 50 times this day, probably even more. This included crossing the Taramakau, Otira, Deception, Mingha, and Bealey Rivers. These were all easy crossings, no more than knee deep. I am lucky that it has been a relatively ‘dry’ year because both WhyNot[…]

Read more

Day 75: Harper Pass and the post that just won’t ever stop annoying me

February 15th Hurunui No 3 Hut (km2147.5) – Kiwi Hut (km2170) Mileage: 14mi/22.5km There wasn’t too much going on this day. It was just a nice, short day of walking. We were all off together at 8 am. Here is another shot of the hut we stayed in overnight. We came to a 3 wire bridge, the first on this journey but I have been across many on the SI. They scare some people but I like them. We passed 5 NOBOs early on, 2 couples and a solo. We also passed a couple huts/bivys and Anna couldn’t resist cleaning one. She loves sweeping. It was a gradual climb to Harper pass…not much of a pass compared to Waiau and[…]

Read more

Day 74: Peacefull Walking and a Reunion

February 14th Hope Kiwi lodge (km2120.5) – Hurunui No 3 Hut (km2147.5) Mileage: 16.8mi/27km It was a pretty easy day of mixed forest and valley walking. We left the hut around 8 am, with a goal of 27 kms for the whole day. Yep, I am taking it kind of easy. Some have used the word “boring” to describe parts of this section but I would call it peaceful walking. The skies were a bit overcast, so the birds seemed very active. It was one of the best stretches for birds, in fact. I saw many fantails, tomtits, rifflemen, bellbirds, and South Island robins. One bellbird was singing it’s rich melody on a branch right above the track. I enjoyed[…]

Read more