Now that was a day!!
Not really any difficulty of terrain, in fact it was generally flat. Just the remorseless gravel road that went on for much of the afternoon, helped by a couple of lifts, about 4 and 2 km. I explained to my drivers — it makes a real difference at the end of the day.
They have cunningly located Hurunui Hut up a hill, to require just that last burst of energy.
Sensing the effort that would be required I was up early and concentrated on an early departure. Even left around 7 30 am.
Back down through the tutu groves. By the time I reached the hut yesterday I realised there was a decent track hidden in the overgrowth of the tutu. I smashed it back in various places on the way up to make it more obvious for my return. Plenty of river crossings still but it was only about 40 minutes on the way down.
The remainder of the Jollie Brook continued with the river crossing theme. When I talked about it with a New Zealand woman at Hope Kiwi all she remembered from her trip as a youth was the 50 river crossings. At the time I was wondering if it was an exaggeration, but without counting I can say — that sounds about right.
I found myself off trail in the broom on occasion, but still managed to make decent progress. The link track up the Hurunui River was reasonably overgrown in a few places, but I just kept moving.
Suddenly I was at the swingbridge over the Hurunui, and out on the Lake Sumner road.
Except it was recently graded, and terrible to walk on.
Fortunately I was picked up by Chinese tourist with her two boys. A crazy conversation ensued with me not understanding much of what she said, and just replying as best I could. That got me out of plodding on for 4 km.
Then it turned to a four-wheel-drive track, except the traffic was people leaving.
I trudged about 5 km and was given a lift for the last 2 km into Loch Katrine. That downhill would have been a killer.
Then there was no chance of a lift, particularly past the locked gate. The grass was easier on my feet. Lots of sheep for company.
I lost my paper map as I cruised along listening to loud music, trying to distract myself from the task of walking. The afternoon did go on a bit.
Not sure where I’ll be tomorrow.
How does Locke Stream Hut sound?