How to get out.
Last night was blowing a gale with some rain. In the morning some new snow, a dusting, was sighted on the range to the south. It’s a full on southerly.
I could go back via the Arahura River, the way I came up. The Lower Arahura Hut tonight, but I’d have to get back over that horrible avalanche path, and after all the rain there is no guarantee to get through the waterfall, certainly not without getting totally soaked again.
Once I could have just walked straight down the Styx River valley, but the track has been extensively washed out back in March 2019. The Styx River track is impassable, well, without having to cross the river three times, including within sight of the bridge. That last crossing requires swimming. I won’t be following the stoat trap track.
The obvious choice is the Newton Range ridge, to Mount Brown Hut.
Two main problems.
It’s very exposed, so with this wind any rain will be a very cold day.
And, of course, I will have some serious scrub to bash through, and some steep ups and downs.
Decision made: the Scenic Route.
Suddenly the wind dropped. The sun came out.
All was good with world.
The day started with rinsing my feet getting through the Styx River. But it’s just kust knee height, and the crossing is on gravel so not an issue.
Then the climb. I climbed up that hill almost a week ago, but today was with my pack. Considerably lighter than when I set out now that much of that food ballast had slowly been removed. Only two days food remaining now.
Still, it is mighty steep, and while others can run up in a bit over an hour, my old knees couldn’t cope with that.
It was such a splendid day, I thought I might as well stay a night at the bivvy. Enjoy the views.
I headed over to the bivvy for lunch, and a short nap.
From the top of the ridge it was possible to gain some contact with the outside world, after all, I had said to my friends that my trip was only going to be a week, and I’m already four days over that, with another to go.
But then, as the West Coast would have it, clouds rolled in. Rain fell, lightly.
Still, I was snug in the two-person wooden tent, wrapped in my sleeping bag. I was hoping it would clear for my slightly gnarly exploits of ridge bashing. I went through the hut book and noted that people had written 7 to 10 hours for their traverse. I’d better plan an early start.
By 5 pm it was fully fogged in. Light drizzle.
A chance for an early night, and get that early start.