Day 68 Porters Hut to St Arnaud via Red Hills Hut

18 Dec, 31km, cool windy and hot in sheltered spots.

Porters Hut

It was cold and chilly when I left Porters Hut. Through the night the wind was gusty and strong. I was in the hut alone and was gone by 7:15. I wasn’t in any rush though on setting out, it was a long uphill to start over a boulder field and straight up. This was hard work but this morning I enjoyed the walk. Probably because I could feel the end of the Richmond Range was close and the views were even better over the river.

At one point while walking across a barren ridge it was hot so decided to stop and take a layer off. By the time I had done this it was dark and overcast. The scene changed so quickly up at altitude. That time I lost my bearings and walked in the same direction I had just come from. It took a while to work out which way to go. You can get easily lost without GPS or a compass.

The walk took me across the lower Porter Ridge and followed the Motueka River. At the confluence with Maitland Creek near here was the former site of a hut. I couldn’t find it but understand it was marked.

The views along the river were magnificent. I wish I had my better camera and the time to take better shots to show the expansive landscape. I stopped often to enjoy the views.

The Nelson mineral belt is a few km wide. It’s made up of igneous metamorphic rock. The rocks across the Richmond Range are dense and heavy. They’re made up of magnesium and iron and came in several pretty colours. Silver, green and blue, grey sparkled.

Poor soil makes vegetation small and grows low to the ground, spartan and plants that have adapted to the climate and soil. The white hebe is common and very pretty.

Climb up over one hill and this is the sight to be seen. The route was along this bank to as far as you can see.
This is looking back and just around the corner from where I’ve walked.

I knew there was river crossings and a couple that may hold me up. The rain early last night I was not sure what I was infor so was pleased to get to them and have them ticked off.

When I got to Red Hill Hut the water tank was leaking. I washed my shoes and socks after the mud slog to get across the grass meadow on the approach to the hut. A new hut, no fire/stove making it seem soul-less having enjoyed the comfort of the old huts. The Red Hills Hut looked strange inside without a fire.

I ate my lunch and kept marching on for 7 more km down a 4wd track.

The quick exit out of The Forest Park

It was very windy but a pleasant walk with views over the braided river.

At the end of the 4wd track was a cycle trail that lead to SH63. A further 3km brought me to Top house area where people stopped in the early travelling days. Then a 10km road walk on to St Arnaud.

Great views looking back at the hills I’d just conquered.

A rubbish bin on arriving into St Arnaud was a great feeling to chuck out the rubbish after such a long section.

Arrived at Alpine Lodge, collected my resupply box and organised a single room. I showered and got ready for my dinner booking at 7:30. Lamb shanks and a nice cool pino gris. Finished off with a very hot latte and a baileys. I caught up with social media feed over dinner after only having moments over the past 12 days.

The fireplace in Porters Hut. Most huts had one of these or else an older potbelly version. Only two huts had open fires.
On the door in case we knocked on the wrong door. 😆
Not many man made objects were seen but this old can had been repurposed as water source
I made a little Christmas Tree out of firewood and some track markers left in the hut.
This marker was different but did not learn it’s significance.

A big day and a finish to the gruelling Richmond Range. I conquered it walking solely except for Mt Rintoul when I walked with Louisa and Tess.

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