We got ourselves together at a leisurely pace this morning, enjoyed a nice brekkie at the house, then and went into Hanmer to enjoy a Rustic cafe hot chocolate and a muffin! We hitched out of Hanmer at 9.30 – firstly with a lift to the SH6 intersection then, shortly afterwards caught a lift back to the Boyle outdoor centre.
Back on Te Araroa trail we started on the Tui track. This was roadside for a km or so, then we crossed the road, and proceeded to cross the Boyle river. We paired up – I knew I couldn’t cross on my own as it was swift and fairly deep. Mike was upstream. It was more swift and deeper than we both imagined, and the water was up over my shorts. There was a slightly hairy moment when Mike slipped on a rock and fell down to one knee. I held on very tightly and he managed to keep me upright, get back up and we carried on over. My heart was racing as we took our shoes off to get the gravel out.
We continued in beech forest and open grasslands until we came to the Doubtful river and crossed that one too. It was manageable on my own this time. At midday we met the Hope Kiwi track, and then we stopped for lunch at 1pm. After lunch we followed the Harper pass track along the Hope river. Again the terrain was mostly lovely open beech forest, valley grasslands and plenty of mud and small stream crossings.
With only about about one km to go before the Hope Kiwi hut, we came upon a HUGE area of enormous recently-downed trees. It looked like a localised tornado had been through and ripped the trees out. We made our way over them taking different paths – Mike choosing the Mr Adventure ‘climb over’ option and me choosing the ‘try to walk around’ option. In hindsight the easiest thing to do would have been to turn left onto the farmland shortly before the trees and walk to the hut that way.
We reached Hope Kiwi hut around 6pm. It was a really nice 20 bunk hut with 2 rooms. We met Phil (Kiwi, also from the Waikato!) and had dinner. In the evening we played cards, as someone had left a couple of packs at the hut. At 8.30pm Alistair (who I’d met just after St Arnaud) and his wife turned up. They’d put in a huge day!! As we went to bed, we realised that Mike and Phil have approx 800kms left to go and I only have 300kms to Tekapo!