Twig Adventures

Day 91: A Refreshing Day

March 3rd Stodys Hut (km2573) – Clutha River (km2610) Mileage: 23mi/37km The rats were up and about all night. Running to and fro. They definitely have a nest in the roof. Fortunately, their dismantling of one of the mattresses was enough to keep them occupied and they left my stuff alone. I hung it from lines but they can be adept tightrope walkers. It also rained most of the night, which helped to drown out the rat noise. The possums were shrieking outside. The hut was lonely but I was definitely not alone. I slept in until 07:30 am. That is a new record for me. It was very dark in the hut and the days are getting shorter, so[…]

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Day 90: A kick-butt finish to a long day

March 2nd Avon Burn Stream (km2538) – Stodys Hut (km2573) Mileage: 21.8mi/35km It rained lightly almost all night. Great to sleep to but I had to pack a very wet tent. I left around 07:30 am, same time as everyone else but Ruslan. He didn’t sleep very well and wanted to take it easy. He and Bertram have very small, coffin-like tents. Both being such tall guys, I don’t know how they do it. Klaus has a 2 person tent and enjoys all the room in the world. Kind of funny how that works. I should say a little more about my companions. Ruslan is 27 and an electrical engineer. He has been living, working and going to school in[…]

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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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