Te Araroa Trail Pelorous Bridge to Middy hut
I had a sleep-in to start the new year and woke at 6.30am. We left at 7.30am to hike the 14km road section of Te Araroa trail to the Pelorous trail head – a nice road walk which followed the Pelorus river. We weren’t sure which hut we’d get to but were generally aiming for Middy Creek hut.
Not feeling great
It was hot, overcast and extremely humid, and I found it really hard going with such a heavy pack containing 10 days of food. It must have been 15kgs. I had pain around the hip belt, a pain in my right knee (slightly worrying) and shoulder pain. I started to have doubts about whether I could actually get through next (maybe) 10 days of the Richmond ranges alpine crossing. But last night we talked about ultra marathon runners who adopt a ‘mind over body’ mentality, so I acknowledged the pain and tried to think about something else instead!
The Pelorous Track
The road gave way to the Pelorous track, in lovely beech forest. We passed by the Emerald Pool picnic area. The river water here is so clear it’s a beautiful green colour. Along the trail we noticed a large number of beech trees covered with a sooty black mould created by tiny insects – and wasps feasting on the sweet honeydew excretion they make. You could even smell the sweetness as you walk past.
Captains Creek hut
We reached Captains Creek hut around 2pm and had lunch. We couldn’t sit outside as there were huge clouds of sandflies to contend with, so instead we stretched (a new year’s resolution to keep our bodies in good shape after a day’s walk) and then slept in the hut for 30 minutes.
Middy Creek hut
Post-snooze we only had 5kms to go, which took another 2 hrs. The pain in my body had mysteriously vanished… yay!!! Along the way we crossed lots of little swing bridges over the river, saw a beautiful baby goat. We arrived at Middy Creek hut around 5pm. Already at the hut was Boris (French) and Jarred and Tash (Kiwis).
We immediately went for a skinnydip… there really is no other way to swim in these beautiful backcountry rivers. The water was lovely and cooled us down really nicely after the hot, humid day’s tramp. We were chased out of the river by the millions of biting sandflies, and despite the heat and humidity got dressed in our longest gear and socks as protection.
After stretching (a new year resolution) we dined around 6pm then went to bed at 8.30pm. We were joined during the night by Micheal and Tiba (Austrian) and Jasper and Alice (English). At 10.15pm when everyone else came to bed, there was a very loud snorer, who was still as loud through my ear plugs… so I went outside and put my tent up instead.