Hamner to Taramakau blog | January 2018
After 18 days walking from Blenheim to Kaikoura it was obviously time for a lengthy break.
Very much needed, considering my pack base weight in carrying my tent, sleeping mat, plenty of electronic gear, and my food supply.
Three nights in a bed would allow some recuperation for my tired body. I could wash clothes, and sort out food for the next stage of my summers expedition. Maybe just read a book, or go out for pizza.
It didn’t work out that way.
At the height of the tourist season I was dead lucky to get my two nights in a bed. That meant my day off was a rush around to get myself sorted for another two weeks on the go. I did get all my washing done fortunately.
Part of my time was spent trying to work out the route to check out some previously unexplored territory, or revisit places I’d been when working on a plant/animal survey for the New Zealand Forest Service when I just left university, or avoiding, where possible, places I’d walked too often.
The general idea was to bear west from Hanmer, and have a few side trips to various valleys. My biggest diversion on my way to the West Coast was zipping around the eastern shore of Lake Sumner via Jollie Brook.
So. After insufficient rest or connectivity with civilisation I was all too soon back out on the trails.
This is how it unfolded . . .
I strode up Conical Hill for the view over the Waiau Valley, explaining to bemused tourists that I couldn’t decide what to have the lunch, so I bought everything.
I’ve been to a few huts in my time, I guess I must be approaching 400 if I bothered to enumerate them, but don’t usually do it as a sport, ie, just so I can say I’ve been there.
Rain started at about 9 am, and continued all day.
First, I had to negotiate an electric fence. Meanwhile I found my crutch caught on the barbed wire. Ouch!! Then I was crashing through the dripping, dense shrubbery.
Not sure why, but today I felt the weight of the pack on my shoulders.
By the time I decided to cross the Hope River to look at Museum Hut, I had my Lawrence of Arabia headgear on, and my coat had been stashed in my pack.
What do I care about wet feet? They were pre-wetted by crossing the Hope River yesterday.
The afternoon had a long sidle above the lake with an occasional fallen tree, slip, or overgrown section to negotiate more thoughtfully.
That’s a huge day. Guess it’s what I’ve been training for over the summer.
By the time I reached the hot pool I was thinking it was a now or never moment for Mackenzie Hut.
I stripped off and sat neck deep. Bit muddy on the bottom and slightly greasy feel to the sulphurous water.
I just mooched along, happy to be on my own again. One night with others is usually sufficient to satisfy my social requirements.
I’d made a pact with myself a few days ago. Either McKenzie Bivvy, or Townsend Hut. At the time I opted for Townsend, and today’s the day.
These days I kinda prefer climbing than descending. My knees don’t like the twists and turns, and big drops. And man, 800 m is a long way down.