My hut buddies and I all rose around 6.30am and had a leisurely breakfast. The weather has been the main topic of conversation for the past few days as cyclone Gita heads to NZ. We all last saw the weather report 2 days ago, and weren’t expecting rain until tomorrow, but it had been raining all night, and was raining now… We groaned, and wondered whether this was the cyclone or whether it was just an unexpected rainy day.
We all decided to push on regardless, and it rained all day, but wasn’t cold at all. We started on grasslands in the valley of the Hurunui river and continued up through beech forest. We followed this pattern for most of the day. I followed the valley floor for most of the time as the forest contained lots of slippery roots, a bit of windfall (downed trees) and had lots of pointless ups and downs. Mike and Phil had pushed on ahead, and I managed to overtake them by taking the grasslands route. I chased a beautiful rainbow for about 15 minutes which was amazing.
We reached the swing bridge near Hurunui and I momentarily got myself lost by turning completely the wrong way – but I wasn’t the only one, Phil made the same mistake. We reached Hurunui hut at 12.30pm, and we enjoyed a long lunch. We left at 1.30pm and it was still drizzling. In the afternoon the boys went ahead and I played music & sang my way to Hurunui hut #3. This is one of only a handful of times I’ve listened to anything on trail.. usually I like to listen to the sounds of nature. There was lots mud, and a good number of small river crossings again today and when I got to the hut I noticed the fabric on my shoes had split a little, so I darned them with fishing line.
At Hurunui hut #3 there were a couple of hunters there with Phil and Mike. While we played cards and had dinner, they went out to look for deer. They came back just before dark having seen a couple of stags but nothing to get a clear shot at. Even though we’d already eaten, we got pretty excited by the smells when they cooked their sausages for dinner! The topic of conversion turned to weather again and we hope to get to Locke Stream hut tomorrow (which DOC says is 6 hours – we’re hoping 4-5 for us) before the cyclone comes in. There are some large/tricky river crossings coming up and we’ll need to hole up in a hut to let the water levels go down after the storm.