Caroline Creek Bivvy to Blue Lake makes for an invigorating day. Plenty of exercise for the limbs, and lots of views of the mountains.

My GPS indicated 1245 m climbing, and there was descent involved as well. Less than six hours actual walking, but that has been quite sufficient.

If yesterday had me starting to be reacquainted with civilisation, well, today the human numbers went way up.

The two Dutch people announced their departure at 6 30 am.

My theory about few camping spots after half an hour proved true. The track is well marked, some recent diversions through the forest due to the track washing out adjacent to the river. Then some boulder fields to cross, loose and steeply sloping, with the base being washed out by the river. Maybe three stretches to cross of a few hundred metres each.

When I arrived at the Waiau Forks campsite there were was a couple having breakfast. They had camped further downstream but found the Forks campsite more suitable, mostly to do with sunlight penetration.

I encouraged them ahead, I was in no specific hurry, and it was just 10 am.

Eventually after a flatter section continuing up the river, the track starts to climb, in a major way, almost to the top of the pass. You just keep going up the 700 m to the top.

There were a few people coming the other way: a German woman on her own, then a German couple.

Just as I was about to catch up to the French couple I’d stop for a chat for 15 minutes.

I made it to the Pass just on 1 pm, in time for lunch. A few clouds were rolling over the pass from Lake Constance, but visibility was still good, except the mountaintops. The view down the Waiau River valley was good, over there Lake Thompson, and down below was Lake Constance in some sunshine.

It was chilly with the humidity so I headed on down. Scree, a lot of fun, much faster than the up direction.

Two more Sobos, southbound on Te Araroa, that’s five for the day, had stopped for lunch. Two New Zealand woman, time for another chat. They claimed they were the slowest on Te Araroa. I stated that I had heard that they had got up at Blue Lake Hut at 5 am, they corrected me. 5 30 am. They took a while to get going they explained.

There is a decent scree slope that makes it almost to the valley floor. Obviously easier for me on the way down with my solitary walking pole, me thinking I’m in snow. But another chat with the two Americans who had come from West Sabine Hut.

I caught up with the French folk due to my speed down the scree. Then it took almost to the hut to catch the Dutch couple. I still stopped now and again in my typical manner to check out views. In this instance Blue Lake from above. I could never tire of that view, no wonder I named my publishing venture bluelake publishing.

At the hut were us five heading north, a few planning on Waiau Pass tomorrow, and some just coming up to Blue Lake. Two more arrived after dark to bring the complement to 14.

I’ve gone from the vast majority of nights for the summer by myself, to an almost full hut.

No wonder I will veer off Te Araroa tomorrow.

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A guide to the night’s accommodation: Blue Lake Hut

Blue Lake Hut, Nelson Lakes National Park
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