Twig Adventures

Day 103: Meandering through the hills

March 15th Lower Wairaki hut (km2842.5) – Struan Flat Rd. (km2878) Mileage: 22mi/35.5km We left reasonably early to get in a long day. The days are so short now, it’s barely light enough to walk until 07:30 am. It was also a bit chilly but I warmed up fast on a 1500′ climb to the Telford tops. Just as I was getting a bit peeved about all that effort and no views, we walked onto a barren ridge. There were views all the way to Bluff, where we will be finishing the TA. It’s not often that you can see the finish line 5 or 6 days ahead. The forecast called for rain in the late morning, but so far[…]

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Day 102: Inching along

March 14th Becketts Hut, off TA route but running parallel (km2822) – Lower Wairaki hut (km2842.5) Mileage: 12.7mi/20.5km The little hut was so perfect last night, it was hard to leave in the morning. My idea of a good hut is a small one, out of the way of big attractions, hard to get to, and a little rustic, yet tidy. A nice spot to escape to, where there aren’t other people for miles in any direction. This one met all the criteria. I feared another long bushwhack to rejoin the TA 6 km later, but it turned out that the 4WD track went all the way to the junction. Piece of cake. We had lunch at Aparima Hut, where[…]

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Day 101: Takahe pics, a dog rescue, and route finding

March 13th Te Anau, hitch to Princhester Rd. (km2807) – Becketts Hut, off TA route but running parallel (approx. km2822) Mileage: 9mi/15km I needed to do some shopping in town and then try to escape the vortex to get some distance done for the day. First, I got pictures with the giant Takahe. They are like pukekos only larger and very endangered. I have never seen a real one. They are only found in this area (fiordland), so naturally it is the town mascot. Feeling cheeky, I tried to ride the takahe and when that proved too difficult, a kiss sufficed. Note to future tourists, you should not be like me and leave the takahe alone. But I just love[…]

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Day 100: A close call, just when I thought I was safe

March 12th South Mavora Lake (km2769) – Te Anau hitch (km2807) Mileage: 23.7mi/38km After 100 days, you would think I had seen just about everything. It should have been a pretty uneventful day, and it was for the most part. I just needed to do a big stretch to get to town for a shower and resupply. It involved a long road walk…pretty mundane, right? I slept so well next to the lake, hearing the gentle lapping of the water on the shore. My tent was very close, so good thing there was no rain. It was just the right temperature for sleeping. The route began with another wonderful forest walk along the lake and Mararoa River. The tread was[…]

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Day 99: Mavora Lakes

March 11th Taipo hut (km2735) – South Mavora Lake (km2769) Mileage: 21mi/34km Today was pretty easy walking and uneventful. There was more walking through tussock fields, then the route followed a 4WD track along Lake Mavora. I did not enjoy this part because the road had lots of rocks, went up and down a lot, and had big mud and water holes. There was also the occasional truck or motorcycle. We passed a few huts and then a large campground at the south end of the lake. Then it was back onto a trail through the forest. I was happy once again, fleeting along a great trail amongst grand trees. Somewhere in this area is where they filmed scenes for[…]

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Day 98: Greenstone

March 10th Greenstone carpark (km2711) – Taipo hut (km2735) Mileage: 15mi/24km The day dawned as another perfect day. We set out to finish our hitch to the trailhead and immediately got a ride from an empy tour bus. That is a first. The driver and guide were going up the Dart River and almost forgot to let us off at the intersection to the Greenstone. So we came close to hiking the Dart Valley instead, which I want to do, but at a later date. I’ve decided to postpone all the side trips until after I finish the TA. It is best to focus on one thing, for now. We got another quick ride to where the road turns off[…]

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Day 97: Avoiding the Adventure Capitol of the World

March 9th Lake Hayes (km2691) – Queenstown (km2711) Mileage: 12.4mi/20km I was on my way to Queenstown, the ‘adventure capitol of the world’, but with no desire to stay there. I had no chores to do and the place was likely fully booked, anyhow. There are a million activities and tours one can book in and around Queenstown but I just wanted to walk through. My goal was to resupply, then get a ride to Glenorchy, on the way to the start of the next TA section. The TA once again provides a logistical challenge as it ends at Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown and picks up on the other side at the Greenstone track carpark, some 100 kms away. One[…]

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Day 96: From solitude to city bustle

March 8th Roses Hut (km2660) – Lake Hayes (km2691) Mileage: 19.3mi/31km There was a freeze overnight but somehow I managed to stay plenty warm in my 30 degree quilt. I was quite surprised. Everything was covered in frost in the morning, even my tent. I also had a ton of condensation on the inside. It’s crazy the variation from one campsite to the next. I was longing for some pine trees. The morning started off with yet another climb but it felt good to warm up. On the way up, I spotted a New Zealand Falcon sitting on a trail marker. I saw a pair flying overhead a few days ago but forgot to mention it. This is another first[…]

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Day 95: Slowing it down

March 7th Fern Burn Hut (km2643.5) – Roses Hut (km2660) Mileage: 10.3mi/16.5km My TA experience is drawing to an end and I don’t want it to. Today was a great day to take it slow. For one, the trail dove up and down along all the ridges, making for some huge gains and losses in elevation. I felt like a goat. Two, the clouds all went away and the sun was shining, making for great views galore. I stopped to enjoy the perfect conditions multiple times today. I even took a nap up on a ridge, propping up my umbrella for some shade over my head. It was great. I also took a bath in a creek in the forest,[…]

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Day 94: Back into the hills

March 6th Wanaka (km2620) – Fern Burn Hut (km2643.5) Mileage: 14.6mi/23.5km I didn’t want to leave this morning as it was raining and looked like it might go on all day. But it was time to be moving on. Bertram stayed behind, trying to heal his messed-up legs. Poor guy. Wanaka in the background The famous Wanaka lone water tree. In Florida, we jave bijillions of these. They are called mangroves and cypress. We set off around 10 am, taking it easy as we continued the stroll around Lake Wanaka. It was another easy multiuse path, but without a single mountain bike on this rainy day. After 14 kms, we came to Glendhu Bay and turned off onto the Motatapu[…]

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