One of those perfect weather days you hope for in the mountains, some sunburn on a limited patch about my knees ensued.
Today I continued with my ability to stretch out the days walking to fit the allocated time, in this case, my 4 hours 20 minutes in motion took, well, all day, with arrival at the hut around 6 pm.
But what was the hurry, not a cloud and the view was spectacular. Initially I could see way back to the hut where I had spent the second night on my lonesome, Boulder Lake and the difficult looking post-Cow Saddle section more distant.
Then once up on Green Saddle I could see over the ridge into the heart of the Kahurangi wilderness area, looking entirely rugged. And after a short section sidling first on the right, then the left of some peaks along the ridge, I came out onto a few kilometres of pure ridge with all its minor ups and downs. In some instances there were 300 m drops to the west, some stretches of truncated forest, I was mostly undulating around the 1300 m level. At least the track was well enough marked with some minor track clearing in the forested bits.
Looking across at the ridges and valleys I came to the conclusion that I was not really up to spending two weeks doing a cross-country through the trackless and hutless heart of Kahurangi National Park, something I had been considering for later in the summer. The ridges are immensely bluffy on occasions, not at all well rounded. Anyway let’s just say my enthusiasm has been deflated at seeing the vastness, and ruggedness of the country.
In the end the Eye of the Needle was closer than I had been anticipating and just over the top of the Eye, a small saddle adjacent to the peak of the Needle, there was a great view of the tiny hut perched just above the small lake. Still not a cloud.
No surprise that Flo who I had met in Takaka was in residence, he had spent the day coming up from the Anatoki Forks Hut. We had a good chat about adventures had recently while sitting outside to cook dinner but an early night was had on the super-narrow mouse smelling bunks. At least there were plastic covered mattresses but it was a nerve racking experience turning over in the night, falling out of bed a real possibility.