March 22nd 2017
private hut/camp – Stodys hut
Total distance: 1592.5 miles
It was really cold last night. I was also really uncomfortable. Whatever way I lay my arms felt like they were in the way, there was nothing I could do with them. The stars were incredible once again though, I had to wee in the night and as it was completely cloudy when we went to bed I wasn’t expecting much but the sky was crystal clear, which was probably why it was so cold.
I was having some really odd dreams so when it was time to get up I was happy not to be asleep anymore but not happy at all about getting out of my sleeping bag. I packed up and with very numb hands set off for Martha Saddle. It was a nice and easy to follow 4wd track. The sun was warm. It the wind was cold and it really picked up towards the top of the climb. I was only just comfortable in my single layers and when I made it to the top I had to put everything on because the wind was icy.
We went down the other side on another nice easy to follow trail, down a slippery slope, through the tussock and over rocks. We saw Hugo on the way, he was just packing up his tent. We made it to Top Timaru hut where we stopped for lunch and the whole gang gathered. Sandy, Colin and I were there, and Marcus, Hugo and Erin followed. The pit toilet there was interesting, It was basically on the trail but it had no door. I really needed a poo so I just went for it. A second poo with a view. After lunch and a chat we went on our way and descended back into the forest which we hadn’t been in for a while.
The trail was difficult, it was very steep in places and most of it was on a slant making it difficult to walk on. We started crossing the river several times and we decided to continue to follow the river rather than go high up and down the steep climbs along the banks. Walking through the river was challenging too and we weren’t sure whether we had picked the lesser of two evils but we had committed now. So we made pretty slow progress down the river, having to pick our way over rocks and in and out of the river. I was following Sandy and Colin and they are so speedy, I was concerned with every step that I was going to fall over, but I made it successfully. It was fun to walk down the river and it wasn’t ever higher than the knee so it always felt safe, but towards the end I was really over it. I think we all were. It’s really hard work and mentally exhausting as well as physically.
Then we approached the last climb of the day. We stopped to have a bit of food before but the sand flies were around us in swarms. I have been bitten about 50 times over the last couple of days. The climb was almost vertical. It was 1.4 miles of straight up. I thought if I slipped I would just slide straight down to the bottom. There were a couple of small reliefs when the trail flattened slightly but it still took me 1 hour 20 minutes to make it to the hut. Half way through the climb we got out of the trees and started to see views of the mountains which was nice.
I could smell a fire as I approached the hut and found Erin inside a warm, but dark and dingy hut. Hugo and another French guy going north were there as well as Sandy, Colin and Markus. The hut book warned of mice and possums so most of us chose to pitch our tents outside the hut, the flat ground was limited and I ended up putting my tent right next to the hut. People were teasing me that the mice would get me because I was so close to the tent but they seem to be forgetting that mice can travel further than the hut! Plus, in my tent they can’t touch my body which is the thing I’m not keen on.
We ate food in the hut and I was sociable for a while but it got cold and I needed to take off my wet horrible shoes so I retreated to my tent. We hadn’t done a massive mile day but we have been on the go all day so I was knackered. I lay down and wrote the first two lines of the blog and fell asleep to the sound of screeching possums.
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.