Brightest looking day for a while.
Christopher Hut is a little hard to like, with fly screens on all opening windows, but all they do is prevent sandflies leaving. Maybe the ultra-wide veranda cuts out most of the view, and a lot of light.
The other three packed up and left early on, just after 6 am, they intend to be places elsewhere.
I notice my food supplies are dwindling, although there is still quite a few days aboard. Fuel suppliers not yet critical, but I had just a single cup of coffee. Yes, the bulk reduction was aided by the removal of the special Christmas Day package from a friend that had a tasty array of nibbles and foodstuffs: snapper mornay for dinner swimming in a sea of veggies, and even a lump of rich Christmas cake.
For some reason been living on a combination of venison stew, and a chickpea coconut curry. Also full of flavour, it was nice to have a break on Dinner 13.
Seems I’ve been out here a while, still the last third of the distance to go.
Today is on the broad river flats of the Christopher River and then Waiau Rivers. Just the one river crossing, first up.
I’ve had a couple of attempts to visit the new Waiau Hut since it was announced in 2016 as a 20 to 12 bunk hut.
What has been built is a very modest six bunk hut, and a much-needed toilet. Considering the numbers of people crossing Waiau Pass on Te Araroa, 11 on the day I last traversed it, the bunk numbers may be inadequate, as often people are required to wait out bad weather over the pass.
Also, being another hour down from Caroline Creek Bivvy makes it a very long day from Blue Lake.
On the other hand everyone on TA needs to carry a tent.
I’ll be sleeping in mine for the next couple of nights, but the weather is supposed to hold the next three days, mostly, with rain for the fourth. Best to be in a hut for that, and not have any river crossings.
Christopher Hut is some distance from the river but the noise is travelling up here. Also the sound of the birds’ morning greetings. After a couple of nights with others it’s comparatively quiet.
I won’t mind a 20 km day wandering along four-wheel-drive tracks for much of the way. Sometimes it’s good to stretch out.
It was a beautiful summer’s day. High UV intensity. Warm temperature, probably in mid-20s.
I had my Lawrence of Arabia headgear on for sun protection as I walked up the Waiau Valley, rather than for keeping the drizzle off my glasses that was required yesterday.
I had lunch by the river, and managed an hour’s sleep.
Shortly thereafter I encountered my first TA hiker. Can’t really call them trampers with their paucity of gear. He left Blue Lake Hut, had sunrise on Waiau Pass, and was now striding energetically for Anne Hut about 20 km further on.
A couple of hours later I came across a second hiker with somewhat less ambition, although he was heading towards Christopher Hut.
I dropped my pack at a reasonable secluded campsite, and headed a few kilometres upstream to visit the Waiau Hut where four hikers were in residence: two Israelis, a Spaniard and his French girlfriend. Soon a New Zealand woman joined them, and after three-quarters of an hour chat about their experience I left them to it and returned to my very comfy campsite.
Lots of sandfly accompaniment, however.
All in all a wonderful tramping day, even if a little less energetic than some of the others I met.← Day 13 | Christopher Hut, Christmas Day Day 15 | Upper Clarence River Valley, camping again →