14 Feb, 14 km, 10 hours
With a full hut of 6 inside and another 6 in their tents outside the small galley in the hut was under pressure. Alarms went off at 5:30 and red lights were making criss cross beams as the keen walkers packed up. There was a lot of jiggling for space in the hot small hut. Gear was carefully packed away as people hopped in and out around me. I was in no hurry and waiting for some space to move. I had the top bunk so had to stretch over people to get to my gear.
One way or another I managed to leave the hut at 8:15, and after 30 minutes walking also managed to loose the marker. Options were to climb down a steep no track bank to the river or look for a better path down.
I quickly found the correct path and was on my way down a steep sidle to the tree line. It wove in and out of the Timaru River as well as climb up and over in beech trees sidling the bank as it meandered through to the next valley.
It amazes me how people first navigated a path through these mountains. They all look so much the same and so far away.
The track ahead was through a deep valley downstream on a track through a narrow 7km stretch with many river crossings.
Nick and Ginny caught up and we walked together the rest of the day. I was really glad of their company especially the stream and no marker areas.
The sidling walking was hard on the feet with wet feet, boots and socks.
Lots of river crossings up to thigh deep until we came to the waterfall.
The hill climb to the hut was very steep but only 2km up. It took 2.5 hours to climb it. Hands and knees at times on very steep and high rock faces.
It was here I decided I’ve had enough and wanted a quick exit from this TA gig. It is getting harder to find the motivation on these really tough climbs especially these last couple of hours. I stopped to pee, had a drink, adjusted my pack and took one step at a time. Nick and Ginny were also climbing this hill to Stodys Hut at their own pace and found the last part of the climb a challenge.
Over the top I looked back to the valley I’d just walked and climbed up from. There was still another sidle across the tops through tussock and finally into a forested area where the old Musterers Hut is. A 6 bunk hut.
We arrived at Stodys Hut having climbed the mountain separately. A very basic hut where it’s known for mice. Ladies who camped last night fed them. Grrrrr. It has a dirt floor with a tarp over it. The bunks were platform bunks with mattresses.
I chose to put my tent up. It’s a long time since I used it.
Another walker NOBO arrived soon after me and decided to stay in the hut, this was Pip. She was an inspiration with enormous motivation with a big smile. She lit a fire so we were able to dry our shoes and socks.
We all cooked our dinner and just on dark headed to our beds. For me exhausted, tired with sore feet. With her pack on the next day Pip collected firewood to replace what she burnt last night. What a legend!