Twig Adventures

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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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[…]

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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[…]

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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[…]

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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[…]

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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[…]

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Day 73: An easy day after town

February 13th SH7 (km2104) – Hope Kiwi lodge (km2120.5) Mileage: 10.3mi/16.5km The gravitational pull of town was hard to break away from. I woke around 6 am feeling hungry. I ate some from my resupply but then went to a cafe for a meat pie and cream bun. Both tasted highly caloric, so I was pleased. I went back and took a shower and did some other chores. Suddenly it was already 10 am. I needed to blow this joint. Tuomas, Anna and I set out. Dan, Tom and Sam stayed for another day. We walked for a little over 1 km outside of town looking for a ride. Then a car pulled over and we couldn’t believe our eyes,[…]

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Day 72: How a Zero should be done

February 12 th Hanmer Springs Mileage: 17.4mi/km This was the best zero yet, as it finally involved some pampering. I had gone on a website called Bookme that has deals and discounts, similar to Groupon. I had found a 1 hour massage deal for $62, so that was what I had planned for 10 am. It was pretty good and relaxing. I also got a daily petting with Ginger the cat. She was over 20 years old, very thin and her fur a bit unkempt but just as sweet as could be. My daily pettings have been suffering on the SI, as I’ve been mostly walking in the forests. After that, I had a huge lamb souvlaki, which is like[…]

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Day 71: A great day to stay in a hut, but…

February 11th Anne Hut (km2067) – Boyle Village (km2095) Mileage: 17.4mi/28km Town was calling. More importantly, a soak in a hotsprings was calling. But the rain was coming down heavy in the morning, as predicted. The hut was so nice and new (2011), I really could have stayed there the whole day. I had plenty of food. But I would have been alone, as everyone else was packing up pretty early. I still took it easy, not leaving until around 8 am. The Finns and D&T all set out at the same time, so we got a couple of cute group photos in our rain gear. The umbrella came in really handy today. I got too hot in my rain[…]

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Day 70: Walking Fever

February 10th Blue Lake Hut (km2025) – Anne Hut (km2067) Mileage: 26.1mi/42km I have an illness. It makes me want to walk for 14 hrs straight, soaking up as much of the most spectacular scenery that I can pack into one day. And I may have passed this illness onto others, who, truth be told, were probably already infected. We all have the Walking Fever. It’s not quite the same as the Walking Dead, because we’re pretty good at crossing water. And we feed off chocolate, granola bars, and caffeine, not brains. But I felt just about dead by the end of this day. I did one of the hardest climbs on the trail, then walked another 26 kms in[…]

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