12 Feb, overcast, 30km
For older walkers Quailburn Hut is off the main track yet there is no track to it. No toilet, but it is better than setting up your tent. It’s 9km to the river crossing this helps shorten the day. No sandflies. Yet the concrete tiled floor was cold. The first time I have felt the cold.
I left the hut at 8:30 after sweeping and filling the bucket with fresh water for the next walkers.
This pretty alpine flower greeted me on the track first thing as I decided how to navigate getting back to the track.
With no track to follow I decided to just walk up the valley until I found the markers.
Here’s where I was headed into the mist.
Rain was forecast for today and I saw the cloud roll up the valley.
It was a pleasant easy walk up the Ahuriri Valley following the East Ahuriri River. This is looking back at the valley I’d just walked through.
These roses were fragrant as I passed them they seemed to grow well in this area.
The grass was easy to walk on and follow the track.
A new rabbit fence was installed recently, rabbit burrows everywhere. A rabbit ran out of this burrow and straight under the fence. This happened frequently.
As I arrived at the Ahuriri River I went down to have a look. Three NOBOs just came out after crossing, they looked like they had just had a fright. It was not a good crossing for them, chest high, strong current, crossed individually. However the shortest, Sarah took this photo of me with the other two.
We chatted a while before I headed off to the bypass adding 10km extra to the day. The plan was to follow the tree line on the river side of the fence. The bank had eroded in several places and so into the pines for a bit. The sidlings were steep.
And the bridge was such a welcomed sight.
The bridge was fenced off and a light traffic bridge that bridged a fast flowing gorge.
I then began the return journey up a country road. A car came along and I hitched 4km to Birchwood carpark with the station manager Scott Hunter.
This begins a new track, Breast Hill. It fits into the Otago section on an old sheep run established in 1858. I’m heading to Tin Hut a private hut 10km up the farm track.
The track wanders along the old farm tracks over a rugged country for 5 – 6 days but today it begins as a 4WD track, crosses a stream and at times swamp. The guide suggests some rugged country up ahead and not so well marked so navigation through these hills, that all look the same to me, is the challenge.
This track followed the Avon Burn stream. A 4WD track for most of the way. Climbing up and up until the Tin Hut appeared.
I was 5th to arrive to claim a bunk. 3 hut Phil arrived shortly after with Bevan claiming the 6th and the floor. They had walked from Lake Ohau and crossed the high Ahuriri.
A pleasant evening shifting and moving around the full hut. It was cool outside with a slight breeze. I left my shoes and socks outside and it rained for a short time over night. A wet feet day tomorrow.