29 Jan, 27km, clear blue sky, hot
I was all packed up and off at 8:00am. Most people start by hitch hiking to Windy Point cutting 10km off the distance.
My walk started near the St James carpark to then follow an overgrown track beside the highway for almost a km. The Tui Track is a connector track that links Boyle to Hope River.
Once I got to the terrace of rocks in the river bed at Boyle River I lost the markers. I crossed the river several times, thigh deep and swift. Still no markers so back and forward I went. The area was massive. After an hour I found the markers only to loose them again. This happened each time the track changed direction.
The main highway goes along one side of the massive rock terrace and the track took me through the opposite side off the terrace to the road. That meant the track went in an huge arc around the massive area opposite to where I thought it would be.
I spent 4 hours sorting out where to go and finally pass the Windy Point connection.
Once on course and I had crossed Boyle River at the confluence with Doubtful River the gradual climb headed toward Hope River.
It was hot. I passed through farm land and followed a deer fence. This lead through overgrown scrub, some had been cleared the rest was slippery and hard to walk through. My shoe laces double tied kept coming undone and caught in the bracken and thistles. Even my sweat towel was lost from my pocket. A frustrating start to the Southern Alps section.
There were many bogs to walk through with no other option but straight up the middle. Smelly stagnant water often knee deep.
A hot and hard walk so far and it was already 1:00 and time to reconsider my hut for tonight.
The rest of the walk sidled the Hope River on a track or paddocks of grass. It never seemed to stop. There was shade from beech trees to walk though before I came to Hope Shelter. And old hut and occupied by two fishers. It really needed a good clean out, the intentions book was full and no longer current.
I thought I would camp there when I arrived at 5:00 but water was way down in the valley so I pressed on to Hope Kiwi Lodge. Arrived there at 7:30.
Just before the clearing at the entrance of the hut clearing a cat took off at speed across the track. It took a discussion with other walkers to identify what it was.
We also chatted about dydimo (rock snot). It’s everywhere and smothers the insects and fish that live in the streams.
Hope Kiwi Hut had a large open dining space with extra bunks, and two large bunk rooms. It appeared to be quarters for farm workers in the past, it had a concrete path leading to the door and was fully fenced. A Lockwood style building.