Thursday 19th January 2017 Upper Deception Hut 2161km Day 82

It kept raining most of the night and a massive thunderstorm went across at some stage where the rain intensified to a downpour. It was pouring so hard that when I went to the toilet I shone the torch down towards the river to ensure it wasn’t coming anywhere near the hut just to be safe!

I checked on the river and took a video of it this morning. It’s a bit of a pain to drop down towards the river edge as the track is overflowing with rainwater torrents and I’m trying to not get wet at all due to no ability to dry anything. The river was absolutely crazy high to the point the boulders were invisible and a staggering amount of water is flowing down. You would drown in an instant if you ended up in the flow.

I spent most the day rugged up and in the sleeping bag while reading or listening to podcasts. It’s been great to have a few days forced relaxation, but I’ll be keen to move on tomorrow if possible. At 6pm I checked the river again and the level is still high and murky, but compared to this morning it had dropped a massive amount. I still have no regrets in coming up the valley as I had no intention to skip the Deception-Mingha Track.

There is a rat of two that keeps visiting each night. It hasn’t been too much of an issue as I’ve been leaving all of the empty plastic food wrappers and pouches on the floor which keeps them happy. I’ve set one of the stoat traps up (a few boxes full of them are waiting for volunteers to set up and use are left in the hut) with some peanut butter tonight to try their luck out. If it goes off and I’m asleep it will scare the crap out of me as they are a fierce bit of kit.

Wednesday 18th January 2017 Upper Deception Hut 2161km Day 81

It pretty well rained all night and it started to get a lot heavier in the late morning. I vaguely thought of probing upwards to the Goat Pass Hut, but the track line shows a few too many side streams to be crossed so I let that thought go.

Once the rain intensified there was definitely no chance of moving on; I’ll be waiting for the rain to stop and the level to recede. Due to the proximity to the head waters it would probably be quite a few hours past when it stops raining. So I’m in for a relaxing day or two (as intended) to wait out the rain.

I realised I have lost my wedding ring today as well. It would have been when I was floundering about in the river crossing trying to stand back up yesterday. It only ever comes off easily while wet and with right side force. Pretty upset at this loss.

Tuesday 17th January 2017 Locke Stream Hut to Upper Deception Hut 2127.5km – 2161km Day 80

A real leisurely start to the day, a very good sleep and no hurry at all to
get out of bed. It was raining and I got stuck into the Kindle rather than getting out of bed. Eventually I had breakfast and we all sat around eating, talking and reading.

Eventually a Japanese fellow heading north bound on the Te Araroa arrived around 11am and had some more recent weather updates. Today was only to be light rain on and off with the big stuff (like really big stuff) to hit tomorrow. I had thought the rain we were having may have been the rain event I’d previously been told of that was coming, just a little early. Anyway I got itchy feet as did the others and we all packed up and headed on. The French were all headed to Kiwi Hut which was about 7km further along and apparently it wasn’t full according to the man as this is where he had come from this morning.

The track down towards Kiwi was the fast becoming the normal type for me, that is grassy plains, boulder fields, multiple river crossings back and forth, some bits of track through the adjacent scrub and some bits where you scramble half in/half out along the water edge to get around a bend or similar. Nearer the Kiwi Hut site the track was easy to follow across grassy flat plains, I didn’t divert to the hut as it was 500m off track.

The DOC track marking differed from the TA mapping files and directed me to cross the Taramakau River near the hut and above the confluence with the Otehake River. I got across the Taramakau in two braids quite easily, but had some difficulty on the Taramakau and took a bit of a swim.

The next 4km was pretty hard rock hopping along the river bed braids and was pretty tedious walking. After this point the track followed a vehicle track along towards the Otira River. The track gives you two directions from here; ford the Otira and get to the highway or take the flood bypass track to the footbridge. I had decided to take the first bit of the flood track and then go up the river bed as per advice I had received a few times. Unfortunately I got to a point where I couldn’t get across or around a river braid, so I reluctantly headed back and up the flood track. Now I have read bad things about this bit and they were 100% correct; the track is overgrown, multiple massive trees down all over the place and pretty hard to follow (worst track so far on the TA due to no maintenance). I abandoned the track once past the section that stopped me at the first opportunity and took a treacherous descent downwards! Once back down on the river flats I was making progress forward once more at a good rate.

So I finally come to the massive footbridge over the Otira, its length shows how much this sucker must flow when in flood. I pondered the situation and come up with a few options: camp here, hitch into Arthurs Pass for few days and come back after the rain or just go for broke to reach one of the two huts up the Deception Valley. I decided on the later and thought it will be a great or my worst decision yet. The notes say to avoid in heavy rain as the Deception side is impassible and no heavy rain had come as of yet, but it’s definitely on its way! I also figured I could bunker down in the tent for a few days if necessary on some patch of ground if I couldn’t get all the way.

So I headed of mindful that it was 4pm and it gets dark around 9:30pm. The first river crossing was fine, so I kept proceeding up the valley in the light rain.

The track was literally in the side of the river at many places and it wouldn’t take much of an increase in the flow to make it impossible to proceed. About 8:30pm and after 6 or so crossings plus multiple side creeks I finally reached the Deception Hut. I was getting tired and cursing myself for not leaving earlier in the day. If I had more time I would’ve kept going the extra bit to the Goat Pass Hut about 1.5km further up. I’ll probably be stuck here until the rain stops and the river drops a bit now. I’m not worried though, as I have food and I’m warm, dry and need a bit of a rest anyway. The hut itself is ok, but a little damp and has next to no dry firewood.

Monday 16th January 2017 Hope Kiwi Lodge to Locke Stream Hut 2086km – 2127.5km Day 79

The weather is still way too warm for what I would consider normal which sort of confirms that it’s going to rain again. I’m really not looking forward to more rain at this time as it will surely bugger up the parts of the track directly ahead.

I was out the door of the old farm house at 6:50 and the initial walking was along the grassy valley floor and slowly heading up towards The Kiwi Saddle and Lake Sumner on the other side. The track entered the light forest and pretty well stayed inside it wandering around and up and down as it slowly headed around the end of the lake. Eventually it left the forest and headed straight across the valley floor past all the cows towards the footbridge over the Hurunui River. The footbridge was definitely one of the longer ones and the river below had the beautiful blue tinge to it.

A little after the swing bridge I came to the Hurunui Hut and two New Zealander fellows who stayed the night and were heading out for a late start. They had a rifle and fishing rod between them and were having a few days out with the possibility of doing some hunting and fishing. Their weather forecast was today/tomorrow ok and at least two days of heavy rain after that, it was a few days old though.

Rain unfortunately is going to totally screw up the coming Deception Valley track as most of it follows the water course and is very prone to the rain. I thought I might push on a fair bit today so as to keep the options open in relation to maybe getting to the top of the Deception Track if the weather holds out.

So I pushed onto the Hurunui Hut number 3 where I sat inside and had a lovely lunch. It had started to lightly spit rain whilst I was eating lunch. It was a short break and I continued on for the day aiming to go up and over the Harper Pass.

I came across one of the few remaining three wire bridges in New Zealand spanning across the Cameron Stteam and I had to give it a try to see how different and difficult they are to cross, it turned out to be pretty easy, but I had to be very careful with the concentration as one foot wrong could see you falling through to the stream below. It would have been far quicker to ford the stream normally though in this case. A little further along was Cameron Hut which was occupied; I didn’t stop in and sailed straight past eager to get over the Harper Pass.

The track slowly followed the Hurunui river slowly upwards, but it was pretty easy walking. The river was still flowing solidly and about 500m before the saddle itself, the track turned away from it and climbed a bit more steeply. Light intermittent rain still persisted, yet I had some good views down the Taramakau River Valley. The descent on this side was rocky and scree in stark contrast to the muddy and boggy climb on the Hurunui side.

There was a long swing bridge over the Taramakau in order to get you across the river to the left hand side while descending in times of high river flows. The Locke Stream Hut is on this side as well, unfortunately a huge scree slip has made the present situation easier to cross over and back once more to get downstream to the hut.

On arrival at the hut the fireplace was going, but unfortunately it’s one of had older type open fire places which burn a lot of wood and put out minimal heat. Naturally there is also lucky to be any dry wood around as well, due to the selfishness nature of many. The trampers are two French couples doing a section of the Te Araroa from Ship Cove to Arthurs Pass (not doing the Deception-Minga Track though). I’m planning on a little sleep in and watching the weather a little in the morning prior to deciding an action plan. I could potentially sit out the rain in this hut for a few days as I have plenty of food.

Sunday 15th January 2017 Boyle River Outdoor Education Centre to Hope Kiwi Lodge 2060km – 2086km Day 78

A pretty disturbed sleep unfortunately, but at least I didn’t have any mice crawling over me. I went to sleep wearing my thermal top and this cooked me unfortunately, resulting in me waking up the first time.

I packed everything into the backpack and it was pretty bad and overly full. I have a couple of things hanging off the side and secured just in case they fall off.

The Tui Track starts just in front of the Outdoor Centre and follows the road for a kilometre before crossing it and spearing down across the grassy river flats towards the Boyle River. The orange markers lead me to a place where it directs you to cross, but I had doubts that it would be possible with the current flows. I ventured in a little bit to gauge the situation and quickly reversed back out. I traveled about 500m downstream and found a promising shoal and attempted the crossing here. It got a little difficult about 80% across, but I managed to keep everything under controls and cross reasonably comfortably. The track followed the river mainly across grassy flats and rocky sections until it came to the Doubtful River, once again I had to head upstream from the marked crossing to get across this one.

After this point the track climbed up above the river escarpment and wandered up and down where necessary. It hit a massive fenced off paddock and due to the locked gates and deer fencing the track is diverted around this precious paddock and it differs from the map linage shown. The track then joined up with the junction from Windy Point where it seems most people start the Hope Kiwi Track so as to avoid the river crossing.

The Hope Kiwi track was pretty pleasant and it wanders along the river flats and high up in the surrounding forests. In general it climbs higher rather than staying down on the flood prone areas. There were quite a few cows in this section and lots of cow poo, I wasn’t drinking any water from the streams in this section. There was a swing bridge over the Hope River before the track finally headed for the Hope Kiwi Lodge. The Lodge must’ve been a farmhouse of some sort dating back to when the flats were a farm or pastoral lease of some sort. The building is nothing like I have seen as a hut before and has been converted to a DOC Lodge. The concrete footpaths outside are original and show the premises have been around for a long time.

We have German tonight who I had to ask nicely not to light the fire as everyone would be sweating inside. He was going to do so to cook on as he has no stove, so I had to lend him my gas cooker to keep the peace. He has no DOC hut Pass or tickets either, but is more than happy to burn the wood at a serviced hut.

Also we have Estelle and Vincent whom I saw at the Blue Lake Hut briefly as they were staying in there tent by the lake. They have done some big days and hitched the section to Windy Point and caught back up to me. Another Frenchman Erwan is here as well, I have been slowly catching him up and he has just had two nights off trail in Hamner Springs to rest and resupply.

Unfortunately Erwan brings bad news about the weather closing in and rain on the way. The rain if it eventuates in large volumes will make some of the upcoming river valley sections difficult or impassible.

Saturday 14th January 2017 Anne Hut to Boyle River Outdoor Education Centre 2032km – 2060km Day 77

Once again the normal 6am start was the ritual for the day. Dave and I got up at the same time and most of the others got up shortly thereafter. I said my goodbyes to Dave and headed off on my own at 7am towards Boyle Village.

The walking was along the river corridor of the Anne River once more, the river slowly petered out and I had a slight climb up to the Anne Saddle. Over the saddle and a minor descent put me into the Boyle River Valley. The track basically followed this all the way into Boyle Village itself. The walking was a combination of river flats and benched tracks where necessary to avoid the sections where the river bank rises steeply. The track eventually changes sides with a footbridge and continues along the last few kilometres into Boyle Village.

On the exit into the car park I came across a group of three traveling around in a van and the have me a few bits of fresh leftovers. I sat down and had my lunch with them and also scored a real coffee. They were very interested in the Te Araroa and had quite a few questions.

After lunch it was only a short stroll into the Boyle River Outdoor Education Centre to see the caretakers about some accomodation and my food package. I was reunited with my food box and given access to a dorm room and the group kitchen area. I set the washing going and had a long hot shower which was pure bliss. The washing machine was on the longest cycle I had ever seen and I was waiting for over an hour with nothing but a towel on. It was pretty nice though as I just sat on a bean bag reading away on the Kindle.

The food situation is a bit off putting as I have still got about 3 days of food left over from the previous section and the drop contains another 7 days; so I have food coming out my ears! Most of the meals I have are Backcountry dehydrated dinners and I’m not throwing them away due to the cost especially. I’m going to get rid of the excess wraps, muesli and a pasta dinner and carry the rest onwards. Unfortunately this is making my pack overflowing. I have also got my next pair of shoes in the box which I don’t quite need just yet. My current shoes are well and truly on there way out, but I want to totally wear them out so the new pair are in reasonably condition when I return home for future tramping use. I might say goodbye to them at Arthurs Pass.
I guess I’ll be suffering a bit for a few days til the food load starts to reduce the overall weight of the pack.

By far the best bit of the day was talking to the caretakers about the food the place can provide and saying what I crave is fresh fruit and vegetables; I was given an apple and an orange and they were beautiful!

Friday 13th January 2017 Waiau River to Anne Hut 2007.5km – 2032km Day 75

It was reasonably cold last night and only a few spots of rain, not the sort of weather to dry out my soaking wet clothes unfortunately. I ended up eating breakfast in the tent and then doing my diary from yesterday while still in the comfort of the sleeping bag. It made for a leisurely kick off to the day at 8am. I wasn’t too concerned though as I only had about 25km of river valleys to reach the destination of Anne Hut. I figured this was a good place to aim for as it gives me another similar distance into Boyle Village tomorrow. The walking was beautiful, but pretty easy and consisted of mainly hardly used vehicle track and lots of ankle to knee deep water crossings.

I kept walking with only a couple of minor breaks and arrived at the hut at 1:15pm. The Hut is a massive 20 bed DOC unit on the middle of a massive grassy plain well above the river. When I arrived there was a man just leaving towards Caroline Bivvy and I had a brief conversation with him.

The wind is really blowing and the hut is making all sorts of minor noises due to the strength of the wind. It’s nice and warm in the hut due to the windows and the insulation, I think it still has some residual warmth from a fire the night before. I spent most of the afternoon reading and eating up some of the extra food that I will not really be requiring due to the next food drop being reached tomorrow afternoon.
Dave from Hamilton arrived around 6pm and is doing the Te Araroa north bound and is planning to do a bit of a mix up to make the route more interesting to him in the North Island. He is on a bit of a tight schedule due to his wife’s pregnancy and it sounds like he was lucky to get permission to do the walk as well.

Thursday 12th January 2017 Blue Lake Hut to Waiau River 1990km – 2007.5km Day 74

I was a bit restless sleeping last night and I think it was due to the mice running around everywhere and looking for some food. The hut was an absolute pig sty when we arrived and food scraps were littered all over the place, no doubt this sort of behaviour keeps the mice well fed.

In the middle of the night I was lying awake and struggling to go back to sleep, so I put the head torch on the red light so it doesn’t annoy anyone and did a little bit of reading. Well the next thing a mouse runs over my neck and I involuntarily flicked the Kindle across the room making a loud crash waking everyone up. I was very surprised that when I picked it up again the screen was intact as I threw it about 4m across and 2m high.

It rained all night and was still raining in the morning, visibility was not bad though (I could see the mountain tops above Blue Lake), so I decided to head off for Waiau Pass even though the notes say fair weather only. My reasoning was based on the average visibility and the winds are not predicted to be too high.
So I set off in the steady rain about 7am fully clad up against the wet and sans glasses. After a bit of a climb I was above Blue Lake and approaching Lake Constance. To get around Lake Constance required a steep scree climb to get around a section of cliff face that makes up the lake boundary in that section. Once up and above, the track sidled along the Lake and eventually dropped right back to the shoreline itself. Once I had reached the head of Lake Constance I was once again in a large flat valley surrounded by massive mountains on either side. A little further along and the track took a hard left up a scree slope and headed upwards steeply. The section up and over the Pass was marked pretty consistently with star droppers with a 30cm section of orange PVC pipe on them at the top. The track had a few false summits before it eventually headed up a final scree slope to the Waiau Pass itself; it was only marked with rock cairns and no signs or anything.
So I’m over the Pass! On the way down the other side it was pretty evident that it had received a heck of a lot more rain and the track was flowing like a river and water was going everywhere down the mountains. It quickly became apparent that I may have some serious issues crossing the streams lower on. The descent was pretty slow as I was being ultra careful due to all the water flowing everywhere and I didn’t want to make a mistake and hurt myself for being careless.
Eventually the track departed the rocky sections and was back into the scrubby track and was on the left side (while facing downstream) of the Waiau River. Everything was going peachy until I hit the first large sidestream flowing into the Waiau River that I was required to cross. I searched up and down and the most likely spot to allow a safe crossing was right above the confluence, however there was no way I could have gotten across with the flows at the time. I stood around for a while and since it was still raining I ended up setting up the tent in a spot I managed to find. I stripped off and jumped in the sleeping bag, read some and then fell asleep. I had another look at the situation at 3pm and thought I should be able to cross by 4pm as the rain had stopped a couple of hours ago and the sun was even out. So I carefully and successfully worked my way across the side stream and pulled myself out and cut through the scrub back to the track, it had been close to crutch deep in places and very strong.
So everything was back on track for a while until the track and markers directed me to the right hand side of the surging river! There was no way I was getting across at this location without a swim or getting washed away. There was a well used campsite at this location confirming that many trampers must get stuck at this point or lay up overnight until the flows ease up to allow a crossing.

I persisted and kept going off track on the left side of the Waiau River hoping to find an island or other point that may allow a crossing option. The downstream progress was slow due to the trees, scrub, terrain and lack of track. Eventually I found an Island and once in the middle found the other side was still impassable. I kept going downstream and found another island, but it was still no good. Just below the island though it looked possible in one spot and if I got washed away in the fastest bit it looked like I would be pushed straight to the required bank anyway. So I crossed slowly and carefully with my poles and only moved one thing at any one time and made sure everything had a firm footing. Eventually I passed the fasted part and was hidden behind a large boulder and worked my way to the bank. On climbing out though I slipped and fell back in getting a little more wet. The crossing had been crutch deep.
So on the correct side with a track once more I travelled downstream at a decent rate towards Caroline Bivvy. The track was flooded in manny sections and required fording of side streams. Eventually I reached the Bivvy and it was as described, truly awful and any sound person would prefer a tent. I noted the log book (it’s full) had a couple of non TA walkers in front of me today and I soon picked up their footprints. A bit further down I was required to cross the Waiau River over and back again which was no where near as bad as upstream as the river is no longer constrained anymore, therefore it’s a wider river. I walked another 5km and I found the other trampers and set up camp nearby. They are a middle aged Kiwi lady Ruth, her father Chris and a grandchild on a week long trip up and over Waiau Pass. They had been over the Pass a few days ago and the Waiau River but were caught out yesterday below Caroline Bivvy and took refuge in there until the rain stopped and had river dropped. It wouldn’t surprise me if we see an accident with some Te Araroa walkers at the upper river crossing in the future due to the numbers coming through and high river conditions.

The river valley is huge, flat and grassy and really beautiful as it sits between huge mountains in either side. There are remnants of old fencing here and there dating back till when the land was used for farming purposes.
I had a cracker of an accident just before dinner time while fishing water from the river with my titanium saucepan. I was kneeling down and scooping the water due to the 50cm drop to the water level. I needed to do this repeatedly to fill my water bladder and on the last scoop, I wasn’t paying attention and I dipped it too deep and the current pulled it from my hand. It was on the bottom in probably 70cm of water rolling along with the current. I dropped the phone and camera and jumped straight in and managed to grab it in the second attempt. It wasn’t the best time of the day to be soaking wet head to toe! I still had my glasses and beanie on as well.

Wednesday 11th January 2017 Upper Travers Hut to Blue Lake Hut 1975km – 1990km Day 73

A comfortable nights sleep in a very nice hut; I got out of bed at 6am and had a nice sit down reading while having breakfast.

Adele was out the door half an hour before me as she only had a liquid breakfast and is a little more organised.
Leaving the hut the track continued following the river up the valley until it hit the end of it. I was standing in a large circular amphitheater sort of area and obviously had to climb up and out. The actual Travers Pass was not obvious or visible at this stage. I followed the markers slowly upwards and raised a pretty good sweat. The climb had a few good false summits on the way up before I could finally view the real saddle. As I climbed higher the misty rain appeared and once over the saddle I was fully exposed to the rain. I covered up at this stage and continued downwards. There were a couple of birds flying about and Adele told me later on that they were Kia; I couldn’t tell as I had no glasses on due to the rain.
The descent downwards was fine until we hit a newer track path that was different to the line work shown in the mapping application. Instead of following the rocky scree slope down it now follows a forested ridge line. Unfortunately with the rain and the mud it really was a bit of a pain to get down. I did have one really good fall and slid down a fair way. Once I hit the old track once more the walking was easier.
A few kilometres further on and I arrived West Sabine Hut. The fire was going and plenty of residents were firmly in place. Even though it was only 11am I sat down in the warmth and made my peanut butter and parmesan cheese wraps while chatting away to the occupants.
Immediately after the hut I had to cross a long swing bridge to the other side of the Sabine River West Branch. The track then started upriver towards Blue Lake and the Blue Lake Hut. The track was generally reasonably easy, but there were quite a few avalanche risk areas and some of them had dome scree slopes or large rocks that have rolled down. There was one section with lots of tree damage and large rocks up to the size of cars that had recently caused the damage.
The rain got a lot heavier a few kilometres from the hut and I was slowly getting drenched. Unfortunately in the last really big scree slope I missed a marker and wasted 20min back tracking to figure out where I went wrong as I was following an old set of rock cairns; it wouldn’t have been so bad if it wasn’t for the rain. I arrived at the hut just as Adele was going in the front door, she had passed me while I was trying to figure out where I had went wrong.

The hut was empty and we got the fire going in order to help dry a few things out. I went down to the Blue Lake but unfortunately in the poor light and rain it wasn’t very Blue at all. Two brothers arrived drenched later on from the Moss Pass Route, they were very happy to see the hut wasn’t full. One of them lives in Sydney and the other in Christchurch. Good company made for good conversations this evening.

Tomorrow the weather is supposed to be even worse than today with rain and wind. I’m still thinking I’ll push on up and over the Waiau Pass anyway, at worst I’ll have to turn back and return to this hut.

Tuesday 10th January 2017 St Arnaud to Upper Travers Hut 1945km – 1975km Day 72

I had my morning all scoped out and planned yesterday; sleep in till around 7am and then head across the road for a coffee and a big breakfast. My plan come unstuck with the small technicality of the store not being open. In my confusion I just gave up and went back to the stock standard muesli and milk powder which at least meant I had to carry less food (very important when you already have too much).

I received a reply from Yeti in relation to the whereabouts of the sleeping bag liner and they only posted it on Friday 6/1 and I had notified them where to send it on the 28/12. I have left details with the Alpine Lodge to forward it on unopened to Methven. It’s starting to look like I might never see the thing again.

Once fully packed, I headed across the road to the now open cafe so I could at least get my flat white coffe. Silvan and Tane were here as well on their pie eating mission. They are planning to have a few more days off in St Arnaud before heading on; they are in no rush to finish the Te Araroa.

The first 10km for the day takes you along the eastern side of Lake Rotoiti which is pretty scenic due to the lovely waters and the massive hills behind it. At the head of the lake there was the appropriately named Lakehead Hut which I didn’t stop at. The track from here was a across the floodplain and climbing slightly where necessary to avoid the Travers River itself.
The track eventually comes to a point where the valley narrows enough that DOC had installed a large wire swing bridge across the river. On the other side I stopped for lunch. Shortly after Abbie appeared and she had watched me cross over the bridge while she was finishing her lunch not far away. I also talked to a German girl who had walked the same route as me in order to meet up with a family she is staying with. An older gentleman appeared shortly thereafter and confirmed the family were further ahead and hence they both left together to meet the 3pm water taxi at the head of Lake Rotoiti. The man also confirmed there was no sickness about any of the huts that he had seen much to my delight.

I caught Abbie about 3km prior to a John Tait Hut and talked for a while before continuing on by myself. At the hut I found James Fitch who was born and raised in Dubbo where I live. It’s such a small world it seems and he’s pretty sure he remembers my wife as well. James was asking about Abbie as they met in the Richmond Ranges and it was quite funny that I could tell him she’ll be arriving in 15min or so!

I continued on the further 6 odd kilometres to Upper Travers hut for the day. The track continues to follow the Travers River up the valley and eventually it arrives at a flat grassy clearing which is deep in the valley and has huge snow capped mountains beside it even though it’s the height of summer. From here it’s a 2km track climb from 1350m to 1787m which puts you on Travers Saddle (which must be achieved to get to the other side).

The weather is forecast to close in tomorrow and get pretty windy which is an issue due to how exposed and steep the section is. The weather is to deteriorate even more in the days following, hence why I put a fairly big day in today so I’m set to cross early tomorrow.
In the hut is a Japanese nurse on a working visa who is in the middle of a multi day tramp and slowly heading backwards to St Arnaud. Fellow TA walker Adele is here as well for the night.

The hut itself is pretty amazing and has a sleeping capacity of 24 before they start occupying the floor space. This and many of the huts in this area get a lot of trampers due to the scenery and loops they can do over multiple days such as the Travers-Sabine circuit.