Civilisation after 34 days.

I had a bit of work to do to get there however. Not so straightforward.

I really enjoyed my little break up on, or near, the top of the world.

In the morning the views of yesterday afternoon were gone. I was up in the clouds.

No mucking around. Up super early. Gone by 7 am.

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.

Eventually I hit the valley floor and the first of a few foot rinsings for the day.

Kiwi Hut was of course empty. It has been repainted since my last visit, but the last inhabitants hadn’t appreciated the fact. It was somewhat grotty. I’ve noted that everyone seems to focused on immediate departure in the morning. It doesn’t take long to wipe the benches, and sweep the floor.

I staggered on, across the valley floor. A few floods have swept away some of the easy walking. A lot of rock hopping, and additional river crossings.

This is the fourth traverse of the valley since I first came over Harper Pass in 2002. Seems I know the drill.

As earlier discovered crossing the narrow Otira River proved the most exciting. I even stashed my electronics for the only time of the day.

Now I only had to find the track on the other side of the river since the tree with a large orange marker has been swept into the river.

Oh, I omitted the part about the gorse that has taken over the river bed, and the burnt portion I smashed my way through. Somewhat blackened various exposed parts of my body, but fortunately I noticed in time to wash most of it off while still in the river.

Suddenly I was at the car park adjacent to the highway, peeling my wet, stinking clothing, and replacing them with the merely odiferous, but dry.

Boots were drained. Socks wrung out.

Not the best hitching spot opposite the car park: there is no shoulder on a sweeping corner so I started walking the 2 km to a decent spot I’ve is used before.

I walked along on the wrong side of the road.

First car I throw out my thumb, and in the way life balances itself, a two door, two seat Mazda RX7 stopped.

I jumped in with my pack on my knees, kinda like a solid airbag. I couldn’t do up my seatbelt. My pack made movement quite constrained.

“I’m going where you’re going.”

That turned out to be Hokitika.

I checked out the backpackers I had stayed at previously.

Nope. No hope of accommodation for the next few days.

I rang around.

Nope. Nope. Nope.

How about Greymouth?

No worries.

Man, wasn’t long before I was back out on the road. Well, I just made it to the highway.

First car, yup, you guessed it.

Not long before I was standing under my first shower for 15 days.

Time for a break for my well rinsed feet.

I’m still keen on Jackson Bay. This summer’s outdoor adventures still have a bit before I’m done.

← Day 14 | Just the 800 m climb to Townsend Hut