26 Feb, 12km, 3.5 hrs
Another short day planned. An overcast morning, showers were likely but didn’t happen at all. My walk this morning was mostly in beech forest, it was muggy and warm. I was the first and only on the track and got all the spider webs in my face.
The track sidled the Passburn Valley initially on a nice soft track and then roots and rocks proved to be a challenge to walk on. Although less comfortable much more interesting. It is around here that I entered the boundary into Otago territory. Unmarked yet I left the Greenstone Valley and entered into the Pass Burn Saddle 728m.
And then the mud pools appeared. Easy to jump over or get past them yet the obstacle was there. With no recent rain they were dry but enough for me to confirm my hate for wet and muddy tracks.
Where there is mud usually ferns and moss grows. These were plentiful and covered many clearings,very pretty to walk through.
Finally out of the beech and mud the track went across open areas and past some small lakes. Mainly grass but some serious swamp land to wade through.
A large clearing appeared that marked the way to the Taipo Hut in a long terrace of tall tussock. The waratah markers were hard to find but gee it’s good to see them up ahead.
Finally the hut appeared at the end of the valley below a terrace beside the Mararoa River. A small old hut with 4 double bunks. Access to the fenced area was through an old cartwheel turntable.
I’m on my own tonight in the hut. The water tank that’s connected to the sink inside is empty. The second tank has water and a tap way up high. That saved me going across the bridge to the river. I will fill up on drinking water at the next side stream in the morning and use the stream water in my bottles tonight.
The sky became bright and sunny. The wind was cool as it whistled up the valley and became strong later in the afternoon.
A beautiful spot with mountains all around, I laid in the sun on the grass until I made an early dinner. The strong wind sent me inside late afternoon to the warm insulated hut. I read the notes for the next section and made a plan.
I was in bed early and listened to the wind. The spouting and wind together bang and clash against each other and sounded like a motor bike.