Te Araroa Trail Day 139. Forest Creek track – Felt hut – Camp Stream hut 2388.9kms

Te Araroa Trail Day 139 - Stagg Saddle towards Lake Tekapo

I had a great night sleep and woke up bright & breezy at 6am. We got going at 7.30am and immediately had a stream crossing – wet feet again! We launched into a 650m climb straight away up to the Bullock Bow Saddle, which took 1.5 hrs to climb up to 1682m elevation. On the way up we saw a ‘tahr’. This is a large Himalayan goat-like animal which lives in the New Zealand mountains. It was on the ridge line for some time checking us out, and ran away when we approached.

Te Araroa Trail Day 139 - Towards Bullock Bow saddle
Te Araroa Trail Day 139 – Towards Bullock Bow saddle

Over the saddle there were spectacular views over the Two Thumbs and Sinclair mountain ranges, and back to the Forest Creek river valley. We had a 20 minute break before carrying on down a nice easy 4-wheel drive track to meet the TA again. Yesterday/today’s detour has been amazing!! I would highly recommend it – with these superb 360 degree views over the saddle it’s a much nicer option than the the river valley we were supposed to walk up to get to this point.

Te Araroa Trail Day 139 - Bullock Bow saddle
Te Araroa Trail Day 139 – Bullock Bow saddle
Te Araroa Trail Day 139 - From Bullock Bow saddle to Royal hut
Te Araroa Trail Day 139 – From Bullock Bow saddle to Royal hut

When we joined the trail again we had another couple of Kms before we got to Royal hut (reputedly, Prince Charles & Princess Anne stayed here as children, hence the name… I expect they got choppered in, rather than walking the two thumbs track ??). We had a short break and chatted to the two NOBO Kiwi boys having a rest day there.

Te Araroa Trail Day 139 - Royal hut
Te Araroa Trail Day 139 – Royal hut

Soon after we made our way slowly up to Stag Saddle, which is the highest point on Te Araroa trail at 1925m elevation. We followed Bush Stream – the river which had thwarted us yesterday – although now we were at it’s source so it was easily crossable. We made pretty good time climbing up, and got to the saddle around 1pm.

Te Araroa Trail Day 139 - From Royal hut to Stagg Saddle
Te Araroa Trail Day 139 – From Royal hut to Stagg Saddle

We had a break and marvelled at the views again. Lake Tekapo in front of us was so blue! It was amazing to be able to see my finish line way down at the other end of the lake! Instead of following the TA trail down the river valley down to Camp Stream hut, we went off to the right and walked up, over and along the ridge line instead. It was a bit breezy on the top but we enjoyed our lunch with the amazing views of Lake Tekapo.

Te Araroa Trail Day 140 - Stag Saddle
Te Araroa Trail Day 140 – Stag Saddle, highest point of Te Araroa trail

 

We followed the superb, easy ridge track all the way down to a 4 wheel drive track, which took us straight to Camp Stream hut – a private hut built in 1898!! We arrived at around 5pm. Marcus (Kiwi) was already there and had made a fire in the little stove. Shortly afterwards we were joined by Laura, who I’d first met back at Merrivale hut about a month ago! It was so great to meet up again! Thankfully, no-one else arrived as the hut only had 5 bunks! It was very snug. We all had dinner, threw another log in the  stove and went to an early bed.

Te Araroa Trail Day 139 - Stagg Saddle towards Lake Tekapo
Te Araroa Trail Day 139 – Stagg Saddle towards Lake Tekapo
Te Araroa Trail Day 139 - Camp Stream hut
Te Araroa Trail Day 139 – Camp Stream hut, which has plenty of firewood 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.