Twig Adventures

Day 89: Trail Magic

March 1st Lake Ohau (km2510) – Avon Burn Stream (km2538) Mileage: 17.4mi/28km plus 3 km walking to TH from lodge Today had a little bit of everything: a great sunrise, small road walk, forests, a saddle crossing, rain, big river crossing, and last but not least, awesome trail magic. The day dawned quite elegantly, with a nice orange glow over the lake. It was again one of the best night’s sleep. A little stream drowned out all other noise and it was dry under the pine tree. I walked out to the lake to soak up the serenity. To think, all those people up at the lodge were paying top dollar for lake views, but we had the ideal location…at[…]

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Day 88: The Lake Tekapo to Lake Ohau Express

February 28th Lake Tekapo (km2424) – Lake Ohau (km2510) Mileage: 53.5mi/86km plus much more, but all done on a bicycle. The mechanical advantage was back today! 3 days of walking done in one, thanks to the aid of 2 wheels. Three of us (Klaus, Ruslan, and I) cheated by renting bikes for this, the longest stretch of roadwalk on the SI. The route follows the Alps 2 Ocean cycleway for nearly 90 kms, and there are several operators that rent bikes in the area. Options include Tekapo to Twizel or all the way to Lake Ohau lodge, which is what we did. They even do pack delivery to your destination. We rented from Cycle Journeys, which has a TA special.[…]

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Day 87: A much needed town stop

February 27th campsite (km2398) – Lake Tekapo (km2424) Mileage: 15 mi/24km We woke to heavy fog and very wet conditions. I was mopping up the condensation all night. It was also very cold, the first time I have had to sleep with my puffy on. My bag was just warm enough but I was starting to get cold spots by the morning. I didn’t want to start moving early but it wasn’t going to get warm and sunny anytime soon. Plus, it was not too far to town. The walk to town seemed to take a long time, even though I was there by just after noon. The remaining trail was gloomy in the fog, offering none of the glorious[…]

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Day 86: The Best Ridgeline Walking on the TA

February 26th Stone Hut (km2368) – campsite (km2398) Mileage: 18.6mi/30km Today was a no-stress, all amazing views day. It rained overnight and the forecast called for rain in the morning, too. But it was nearly clear when we woke up. It was time to hike! We couldn’t escape getting our feet wet first thing with 4 more crossings of Bush Stream (I hate you, stream!). Thankfully, this high up it really was a stream. It was still pretty swift but we were all able to cross individually. Then we were at Royal Hut, named so because Prince Charles supposedly visited as a child. It was old and rustic, just like the one we stayed in the night before. These huts[…]

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Day 85: To the limits

February 25th Two Thumbs trailhead (km2350) – Stone Hut (km2368) Mileage: 11.2mi/18km Starting off, I thought the only pressing concern for the day was getting to the trailhead. Little did I know that the water crossings 2 days ago were just a warm-up for today. We had a great night under the pines. It rained just a little but the tents were dry in the morning. It was just windy enough but also protected from the trees. We were on the road at 07:30 am. We walked a few kms up to the top of the ridge, hoping to get cell service to contact J and Klaus about the shuttle. A farmer was the first to come along and stop,[…]

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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,[…]

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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[…]

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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.[…]

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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[…]

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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[…]

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