February 25th 2017
St Arnaud – Upper Travers Hut
Total distance: 1243.1 miles
I got bogged down in admin stuff when I went to bed and ended up not going to sleep until late. We had a private room which was great but it was a creaky building and there was a fair bit of noise. I didn’t sleep that well and woke with a fuzzy head and blocked ears. Not a great start to the day. I phoned home and felt a bit home sick afterwards. It’s weird not knowing when you’ll be going home.
We left around 8:30am, the others were all staying at the Travers-Sabine lodge and we weren’t sure of their plans. The trail takes you down to Lake Rotoiti which is a hub of activity. There were a whole bunch of people there photographing the lake, looking at the eels, kayaking, in boats etc. The piers make for a quite nice picture.
The trail then continues around the edge of the lake, mostly covered in trees with small glimpses of the lake. The trail is nice and well trodden, apart from a few rocky scrambles where the water runs down into the lake. I was going slowly with the way I felt, weak and difficulty breathing. Just plod on. That’s all you can do. We made it to Lakehead hut where we took a little break. A few weeks ago there was an outbreak of Norovirus (vomiting and diarrhoea) in this area and there are remnants of that hanging about, posters and cleaning products. I had suspected Norovirus a few years ago and I was totally wiped out, unable to sit upright without the room spinning, so that’s the very last thing I would want to get out here. Robin, the young German hiker was there.
After a quick break we moved on. I have less food for this section than the last one, I was eating cheese and salami wraps for lunch and tuna and crackers for dinner, but now I don’t have the salami of cheese so I’m a meal down each day. It will just have to be ok.
The trail continues to climb really gently and it would be a fairly easy walk if the trail wasn’t so rocky and rooty. The uneven terrain makes it slow going at times, but we had plenty of time. Julia was off way ahead, and I was trying to walk in a way that I didn’t get too hot so my head didn’t throb. I picked my way over the rocks and across the various little streams, avoided the muddy patches and did my best not to trip on the tree roots. The bigger river crossings had bridges which was nice.
We stopped at John Tait hut for another short break, these huts are big ones, sleeping 20-30 people, and there are easily accessible so are quite busy generally. The toilets here were the fullest ones I’ve seen so far. Pretty gross. We chatted to a nobo couple from Reading UK for a while before moving on to the last part of the day. I was still feeling rough and plugged myself into my podcasts to stop myself looking at the gps all the time. My head was still throbbing and I continued to take it slowly. Despite my slow pace I was still quicker than all the times estimated on the signs. We saw quite a few people today, the Travers-Sabine circuit is a popular one.
We followed the river all day, it was low but flowing fast. I was glad we didn’t have to cross it. It was so clear and the colour was amazing. A very short side trip got us to Travers Falls, a nice waterfall. We were able to leave our packs at the junction as the climb down to the falls was quite steep, but I’m so nimble without my pack on, which felt extra heavy today. Then it was a steady climb all the way up to Upper Travers Hut. I passed a couple of people on the way, both heading to the same hut. The girl had the most ridiculous size pack with bits strapped all over the outside and she was using what can only be described as a tree branch as a walking stick.
Despite my slow but deliberate pace I made it to the hut at 6pm. It wasn’t a difficult day, just made difficult by the way I was feeling. I was starving by the time I got to the hut, having eaten sweets and chocolate and a handful of Doritos all day, so I stuffed down a tuna wrap and some gingernuts, and got into my sleep clothes and lay down with my arm across my eyes to make it dark for a bit. There were quite a few other people at the hut but I didn’t have it in me to socialise tonight, so I stayed in my bed all evening. There are two bedrooms in this hut and there are about 10 people here tonight. 4 in our side, so we did well there.
I’m walking thousands of miles for Just A Drop because everyone should have access to clean water. Please donate here, every little bit helps.