Te Araroa Trail – Methven to Comyns Hut
We got up at 5 am for a quick brekkie, and we left the Blue pub in Methven at 5.45 am to get the school bus to the trail head up Glenrock Road at 6 am. It was raining when we woke and I wasn’t keen to go but the boys weren’t having any of it, and casually ignored my protests. We got to the bus stop and found out that the bus left at 7 am, so we went for a hot chocolate.
When we got back to the bus stop there were 7 other Te Araroa trail hikers waiting too. We boarded and headed out to the other side of the Rakaia River. The bus took 30 mins to reach our destination.
As we were driving up to Glenrock we saw that a HUGE landslide had come down the mountain towards the Rakaia river, blocking the road. We now needed to walk 20kms to the start of today’s trail.
As we crossed the landslide we saw the diggers which had been in over the weekend to flatten a path. Even though we could get over it there was still loads of water running down the sides, and from the middle to the end sections, it was really soft and bouncy underfoot and not at all stable – a little worrying! This was the first of about 4 landslides we had to cross on the road.
The road walk was lovely though, with the splendid backdrop of the mountains and river. The rain stopped and the sun came out. We made excellent progress. We heard from the other group that there was another party of about 9 SOBOs coming in behind a couple of hours behind us.
We met a few NOBOs including a couple I’d met before down South, and stopped to chat. As the morning went on, a couple of cars drove down the road (and back) to take a look at the landslide. All the other hikers got a lift to the trail head at Glenrock except us – but we did manage to squeeze our packs in one of the cars, which they dropped off at the start of the trail while we walked the last 4kms unencumbered.
Towards Turtons Saddle – Hakatere Conservation Park
We reached the trail head and ate lunch at midday under the shade of some poplar trees. The next stretch between the Rakaia and Rangitata Rivers took us through the beautiful Hakatere Conservation Park in the Ashburton Lakes District, which was one of my favourite sections.
We set off at 12.20 pm for the next 15km stretch. This started with the walk to the Turtons saddle (1120m). This was initially through farmland then open tussock.
There were of course lots of river crossings again. The saddle was a steady climb up but we made good time, and there were beautiful views from the top. We reached the A frame hut at 2.50 pm and had a quick break. From there it was downhill most of way to Comyns hut, which we reached at 4.30 pm.
Mike and I set up our tents, and Phil got a bed. It got cold very quickly as soon as the sun went behind the mountain. We had an early dinner, then I sewed my shoes up in another place where they’d split today… I really hope they can handle the next 7 days!!! We all went to bed early tonight to keep warm!!