Twig Adventures

Day 68: Welcome to Nelson Lakes

February 8th St Arnaud (km1980) – Upper Travers Hut (km2009.5) Mileage: 18.3mi/29.5km As usual, thoughts of things I needed to do woke me up early…5 am! Eating was high on my list. I wanted to reduce some of the food I had to carry on this next leg. I also needed to upload pictures and post about 4 days worth of blogs. I stayed in the cabin right up until checkout time at 10 am, then finally hit the trail. Look at my pack next to Magnus’s…he’s a big guy! It started right out the back of the property and wound down behind the town to Lake Rotoiti.   Looking up the lake and valley that the trail follows was[…]

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Day 67: A big finale for the Richmonds

February 7th Hunters Hut (km1941) – St Arnaud (km1980) Mileage: 24mi/39km Today was another day of great weather so I decided to make the most of it by putting in a huge effort. Yes, I was already feeling a bit worn from the 4 previous hard days. I probably should have just stayed at the last hut but some rain was forecasted for late Saturday through Sunday and I am already thinking ahead to the next section. There are a couple of big passes and river crossings that would be great to get through while the weather is still so nice. I left the hut around 7:40 am, even though I swear each day that I am going to get[…]

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Day 66: Exceptionally Beautiful

February 6th Tarn Hut (km1917) – Hunters Hut (km1941) Mileage: 15mi/24km Well, I got one perfect day in the Richmond Range, so I am a most happy and grateful camper. It looked like it might be another mixed bag when I set off from the hut at 7:40 am. I was flying solo, as everyone else was taking different routes or paces. The wind was still a bit strong and it was partly cloudy. A short climb warmed me up right away. The route called for a descent to the Wairoa River valley, then following the river up to the headwaters below the red hills, then a traverse over another alpine section. I made it down to the river in[…]

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Day 65: If you don’t like the weather, just wait 5 minutes, it will change

February 5th Slaty Hut (km1896) – Tarn Hut (km1917) Mileage: 13mi/21km This day involved a little bit of everything these rugged mountains have to offer. I was first surprised when I went outside early morning to use the bathroom. The moon and stars were out…clear skies! They held until dawn and I was quite excited when I left the hut at 8 am. It was also quite cold…low 50’s and maybe into the 40’s overnight. Everyone left around the same time and I matched Brian’s pace, since his pack is even smaller than mine. He is from Seattle, WA and did most of the PCT. He is just doing a quick stop in NZ on his way home from Asia.[…]

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Day 64: Rain and Clouds

February 4th Rocks Hut (km1871) – Slaty Hut (km1896) Mileage: 15.5mi/25km It was one of those mornings where I didn’t want to get out of bed. It was quite cold and drizzly. We all left the hut kind of late around 8:30 am. I started out in my rain gear, then popped the umbrella. I stay so much warmer when I can leave it up. One of my clips got ripped off during the ferry ride but I am still able to rig it to my pack. We went through an open section of tussock but got nothing but white-sheet views. At the bottom of the trail, Dan had decided to walk out towards Nelson. He is missing his mate,[…]

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Day 63: A great start to the Richmonds

February 3rd Pelorus Bridge (km1839) – Rocks Hut (km1871) Mileage: 20mi/32km It was a great day where I really felt my energy levels high. It probably just had to do with the temps being so much cooler. When I woke up, I actually put my down puffy on. It was hard to strip to my hiking clothes…and this was in town. The mountains may reach the single digits…celsius. That is into the 40’s…cold. What was I just saying about not needing my warmer quilt? I set off to get a ride back to the Pelorus bridge around 8:30 am. I waited about 10 minutes as there wasn’t much traffic. I started working up my positive thinking. Today it would be[…]

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Day 62: Like a nero in Havelock

February 2nd Havelock (km1818)- Pelorus Bridge (km1839) Mileage: 13mi/21km Several factors made my decision to slack-pack today an easy one. One, my package of extra food had not arrived but was likey to come today. Mail is apparently only delivered 3 times a week here: M, W, F. Second, the forecast was for some more unsettled weather today. Third, both Wired and WhyNot did a version of this plan in order to wait out the weather and/or line up schedules, so I got the inspiration from them. I would leave most of my stuff at the backpacker and do just a 21 km road/farm section to the Pelorus Bridge, then hitch back. I woke up early as usual but tried[…]

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Day 61: Stormy weather

February 1st Up from Torea saddle (km1781.5)- Havelock (km1818) Mileage: 22.7mi/36.5km As I feared, the wind came up through the night. My site at the top of the ridge was pretty protected but not enough for the strong gales. You sleep pretty poorly when your tent is constantly shaking or the trees around you are waving wildly. There were some branches banging together all night, like wooden wind chimes. I was ready for the dawn and already packing up before it was light. I felt a sense of urgency and wanted to beat the rain while my tent was still dry. I was on the trail by 0630 am, which was good, because I just got a glimpse of the[…]

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Day 60: Cruising on Marlborough Sound, TA-style

January 31st Queen Charlotte Track (km1741) -up from Torea saddle (km1781.5) Mileage: 25mi/40.5km I don’t have a lot to say about this day. It was just a nice, cruisy day. It was just starting to cloud-over when I woke up. Another remnant tropical storm is moving over the SI, with the main impact being Thursday and Friday. I was actually happy for the cloud-cover, as it wasn’t as hot. The trail wound all around Endeavor Inlet and then up onto the main ridge. Just before going up the ridge, I stopped to load up on water. There are 2 campsites on the ridge that are supposed have water but both have run dry. I thought I might stay at the[…]

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Day 59: Part 2, The South Island

January 30th Ship cove (km1734)-Queen Charlotte Track (km1741) Mileage: 4.35mi/7km I was up by 6 am trying to get all packed and moving. I stuffed-up (kiwi slang for screwed-up) my food calculations while at the supermarket the night before, ending up with a bunch of extras. For some reason I got it in my head that I was buying for the 6 day stretch through the Richmond Ranges, as opposed to the 4 day stretch from St. Arnaud. I could either carry the extra food or mail it to Havelock. I had two boxes plus the bag of extra food, plus my full pack to carry about 1 km to the train station, ride to the CBD and then onto[…]

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