With that torrential rain which only stopped around 7 am it was clear that the Waiau River crossing option wasn’t a goer.

I was keen to cross on the cycle trail swingbridge, 12 km or so down the valley, even past the valley with Anne Hut. The Henry River might cause some issues and it probably would take a while to go down to be crossable. I was thinking around lunchtime departure to get there around 5 pm. Then it would be about 7 km to an hut.

A plan.

The others slept in and took a while to pack up so it was in fact 12 pm when we all set off together at a cracking pace.

Humm. Not much point in that with the current river situation, and after an hour I stopped for lunch at a higher point to look down on the Ada Homestead, no longer occupied since the government has taken over St James Station. The horses are still around, there is some story there which I can’t currently recall exactly, someone breeding horses has been allowed to use the paddocks.

There was low cloud against the mountains but it became clear when it lifted occasionally that there was some very new snow, down to about 1200 m. It was a very Shangri-La view back up the two valleys.

The Wairau River was way up, no crossing feasible, actually the whole valley was flooded.

But it had been up a lot higher in the night, you could tell by the swept grass and general debris.

At the swingbridge the flow was murky and, well, phenomenal. Immense power and speed to the water.

Eventually I caught up with the team at the Henry River Crossing. It was 4 pm and looked, as expected, gnarly. We had a go at crossing an hour later, but with 8 m to go it became too deep, the shortest member of our group was almost swept off her feet, and was restrained by our linked arms. We decided to camp and to try in the morning with the river continuing to drop slowly. Fingers crossed for no more heavy rain.

A sand fly infestation had us early into our tents. I’m intent on an early start, maybe breakfast at Anne Hut and over to Magdalen Hut.

I want to get down to the road for hitching as early as possible on Saturday morning.

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