Day 66 Top Wairoa Hut to Hunters Hut

16 Dec, 11km alpine, river, scree and rocks

I went to sleep last night at 7:00pm it was dark and light rain. I woke at 8:30 and thought how could I have slept for 13 hrs, it was bright sunny and clear. I jumped up and began to dress when I realised it is still Wed! It looks like I’ll be off today.

Light wispy rain first thing this morning so I donned all the warm and wet gear and sauntered off at 6:30. I was really keen to get going today to be relieved of the TA continual pressure.

I followed markers firstly up to 1374m altitude from 900m. A tough but enjoyable large rock zig zag climb with spectacular expansive views.

The track went through scree downhill before climbing to Mt Ellis 1615m. Some bush track helped sheild the hot sun but I still wore my rain coat for the windy open spaces. The ridge walking was exciting, spartan moon like open exposed space. Unlike yesterday for Geoff’s journey across these parts.

There was one river crossing left before climbing through scrub and bush straight up 1km to Hunters Hut. This was the widest river I needed to negotiate today. I first crossed in the wrong place to an island and reversed this manoeuvre. Then discovered I needed to walk around the rocks that were under water so scrambled around the sharp scoria type vertical rock face to come to a halt, lost one pole in the water and slid down a metre to a narrow ledge 3 meters above the rocks. But I just nailed it with heart racing, grazed legs and a tear in my pants.

I stooped picked up my pole and kept going across the swollen river. I was so glad to touch the sign that said ‘Huts’ this way.

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