31 Jan, 10km, very hot, clear sky
Tsai a NOBO asked if I could help her get her car from Otira Valley or Aitken Carpark the end of this section to Arthur’s Pass Village.
Explaining where she wanted her car moved to she mentioned coffee shop. She had my attention from there on. So in our bunks in the dark we discussed detail and she gave me her spare key. The hut was then silent until 5:30am.
Tsai was up and away and I left at 7:30 just behind her. A good early start for a half day and beat the sun.
The sun rise was spectacular.
Walking along the cattle flats I was thinking about the water I got yesterday further down the Hurunui River.
Geese, cats, possum and now cattle. I had better start filtering my water.
The walk started on grass and was easy to keep a good pace. It was good to have the company of the Hurunui River and birds as the sidling began in the forest section. Robins and fantails out for food kept pace with me up and down the tree root track.
Harpers Pass track is what is stated on the Top50 map, that’s my GPS as well. When I reached Matagouri Flat I lost the next marker. There was one marker leaning on a track uphill so I walked to it. The map indicated the track elevated a few meters so first I climbed left, then right to the summit. This patchwork of steep tracks lead to tree fall, but no markers.
I then went back to the last marker and ate my first lunch. While my pack was off I explored all options before walking away from the loose marker on the track. I then found a cairn in long grass. Ah ha, a track.
With pack on I finally found a marker further along the flats. An hour wasted, I began to wind myself up and thought I might have to wait for other trampers behind me to find my way.
So a very pleasant varied morning. Grass flats, river for company, small waterfalls, dry sidling paths, stream crossings and some mud.
I arrived at the old rough sawn timber hut. A real beauty, two sets of five foot wide slated base bunks each end with mattresses. Three up and two across. An extra room had two sets of two canvas slung base bunks, narrower with mattresses. Loads of room and a fireplace.
Dave, Steph and Gray were having lunch before heading NOBO to the hut I left this morning. Soon after the quiet couple I met two huts ago arrived and set up before Alan 72y, and Caitlin his granddaughter. He was a treat. Went straight for the slung bunks and went through his routine. Then a big rest.
The sun is scorching, it’s hot and sandflies are biting.