March 31st 2017
Queenstown – Taipo hut
Total distance: 1691.4 miles
Another noisy night at another busy campground! But I was super tired after my lousy nights sleep the night before so fell asleep quickly. Around 10:30pm Colin asked the noisy Germans to keep it down a bit and that made it a bit better. We packed up and said goodbye to Michael and Kara and set off to drive around the lake and rejoin the trail.
We have heard stories of it taking all day to hitch around so we were so pleased to have a ride from Crusher and Rebecca. Rebecca hiked the PCT northbound in 2015 and she started the day after I did, but we never met! Her trail name was Karaoke. We drove up to Glenorchy, at the head of the lake, a nice little place, developed by a couple of wealthy Americans apparently. It’s all very artisan and expensive, still being developed it will become some kind of eco village.
We had a quick toilet break and carried on driving down the other side of the lake. The weather was looking pretty bad on the way to Glenorchy so we were pleased to be turning around and driving away from the weather. It was about 45 minutes to the trail head along a bumpy gravel road, we also had to cross 3 fords which were slightly scary and I was glad Rebecca was driving!
Crusher is going to hike with me for the next week or so, and Rebecca is coming with us for a couple of days and then hiking back to the car. At the trail head the sand flies were outrageous, within a few seconds I was covered in them. People keep telling me the sand flies will disappear as I go further south, but with only a few days left on the trail that is yet to happen! We divided the day into 2, aiming for greenstone hut for lunch and Taipo hut at the end of the day.
The trail to greenstone hut was a nice trail mostly through the forest, with a well worn and easy to follow path. I hiked with Rebecca and we chatted the whole way, discovering that we have loads of mutual friends from the PCT and we got to know each other’s stories. It was nice to have someone new to talk to and get to know. We arrived at the hut where we found Hugo and we took a nice long lunch break there. Greenstone hut is pretty fancy, a 20 bunk hut with flushing toilets! It’s easily accessible as a day hike so I think it’s quite well used.
We carried on to the next hut, only 6 miles away it shouldn’t take any longer than 3 hours. There was a bit of up and down but it was all quite gentle, nothing very demanding. We continued through the forest, Sandy and Colin were out in front and Rebecca and Crusher were slightly behind, they haven’t hiked in a while so it must be a bit of a shock to the system, and Hugo was probably still at the hut!
After continuing to follow a nice easy path through the forest the path stops pretty abruptly and turns into marshy boggy tussocky land with hidden orange poles which do not line up with the GPS. I was wondering which way to go when Hugo arrived and decided he would just bush bash. I also bush bashed for a while but got tired of fighting my way through the spikey plants so made my way down to the marshy area. That too became hard work as I was constantly sinking into the bog and eventually ended up with wet feet. I moved back up to the bush bashing and continued to fight my way through until I picked up the orange poles again, which navigated me through the tussock.
The tussock was a little better than the bush bashing but it also had a few holes in so it was still hard going. I hoped that the girls were ok and they were managing to find their way through. The hut was really well hidden in a dip and wasn’t viable until you were right on top of it. It’s a strange set up, 4 double mattresses. So we made our food and settled in for the night. 2 other people arrived, a couple of kiwis, Harry and Emma from Christchurch, and they decided to pitch their tent outside. Given that people had written about mice in the hut book it was probably a good idea! But it is forecast to rain tonight so it’s nice to be inside.
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.