30 Jan, 19 km, hot and sunny
I left at 8:00 and set off to the cattle flats. A massive space on the valley floor. A walking track up the middle that didn’t seem to end.
Then a gradual climb up to Kiwi Saddle, 677mtrs. The walk was up and down through the beech forest.
There are five different beech trees in NZ. Today were the mountain beech, smaller and several growing from the same trunk and the common beech with the larger leaves. Beech leaves make a good track to walk on.
The track though the beech was very quiet, no distraction very meditative, but it just didn’t seem to end. It was pleasant and cool in the shade but a long time without seeing anything but beech trees, roots and rocks. This was the track most of the day.
A couple of swing bridges added a bit of excitement. In my first hours of walking I inhaled a bug, I coughed and spluttered for the next kilometer. An uncomfortable sensation.
I saw the hut in the distance before the final approach across grass flats. I decided to get out of wet socks and shoes and put my sandals on thinking the hard work was done my feet can dry out and rest. Not a good idea, within 20 meters there was a drop down and a mud puddle to walk through. I tried to tippy toe through but unsuccessfully.
I carried on to the final swing bridge and walked to the river to wash sandals feet and prepare for the final 3km. Mucked around there for a while in the afternoon sun watching the birds.
After the fall yesterday, it was painful using any effort on my right side. Panadol and nurofen to the rescue.
I stopped a lot today. My first lunch was at 11:00, and second lunch at 1:30. I stopped at Hurunui River and collected water since a report 2 weeks ago said the tank was empty. On arriving I noticed old pipes and a tap sitting on the side as rubbish, so the tap is fixed now. I carried river water for nothing.