Day 3, and I’m into the swing of things.

Well, almost. That pack is still ridiculously heavy, and my feet and shoulders are feeling it.

I had a choice today.

Option 1. Go back to the ridge from yesterday and continue on a long ridge along the top of the range. Advantage: extensive views into the Wairau valley.

Option 2. Instead of going back, continue on the track and spend some time walking up the valley instead. Advantage: a few kilometres shorter, and not so much climbing.

Of course I chose the bigger day. Can’t miss those views, that’s why I chose this itinerary, except by the time I was up there the low clouds had come in and there was limited views to be had.

Lots of round and round, and up-and-down.

Eventually, long after lunch, I made it to this drop down bit from near Point 964. I had about a kilometre to join two ancient bulldozed roads together. I’d planned to follow a flat ridge indicated on the map to get over to Blairich Pass. When I made it down below the cloud level I realised that not only was there no connecting track, the “flat” ridge was a seriously serrated super steep ridge quite unlike what was indicated on the map.

I went through the first of the teeth on the ridge, and sidled around the other side. Fortunately there were sheep around and they had created some minor tracks on the steep hillside. Progress was slow, and I jabbed my hand in some matagouri.

At the pass, Blairich Pass, I found it wasn’t the pass. There was still half a kilometre of slow uphill, before a steep descent over the other side.

On the way down towards Beehive Hut I spotted a hind and two fawns making their way to somewhere else in a hurry. Then two turkeys. Then another turkey a kilometre further down with a broken leg that I could have caught for dinner. I preferred not to add additional weight to my pack.

Almost 20 km of the day, and another 1100 m climbing.

It felt good to take my pack off at the end of that.

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