April 1st 2017
Taipo hut – North Mavora Lake
Total distance: 1706.6 miles
It was fun to have Crusher and Rebecca have their first back country hut experience, and thankfully as we had blocked up the door we had no problems with mice. The aim was to leave around 8 but surprisingly we all slept in and no one got up until 8.
The weather looked a bit threatening, but the predicted rain was yet to make an appearance. I set off at 9am with Crusher and Rebecca. Rebecca was going to hike a few miles out with us and then turn around and hike back the way we came, back to the car park to pick up her car and drive down to Riverton. I was glad to have her in front of me because she was very good at spotting the orange poles, even when she pointed them out to me I still couldn’t see them. As soon as we left the hut we crossed a swing bridge, one of those sketchy wire ones that you can see through where only one person at a time is allowed. It was fun to watch their reactions as they crossed the bridge for the first time and remember back to what it felt like for me. It’s easy to begin to take things for granted and not appreciate where you are so it’s nice to have people around to bring back the wonder and amazement in things.
We hiked out for about 2.5 miles, and I was chatting to Rebecca about all the mutual people we know from the PCT, and she gave me a lesson on cows. Any cow can have horns, not just a man cow. And a steer is a castrated man cow. I learnt a lot today. The clouds started to break up and we got some sunshine which was nice, and it was sprinkling with rain at the same time. When the time came for Rebecca to turn around she stopped to have a snack while we carried on and she got out a little tin whistle thing and she played the lord of the rings theme which was super cool.
The path was a little easier to follow than it was yesterday afternoon, it was more well worn and the orange poles were a bit more visible. Other than avoiding a few muddy patches it was a nice easy walk. Nearing the hut the wind had started to pick up and it was a little tough navigating through the tussock which was over my head, but after another crossing of the river on a swing bridge we got to the hut for lunch. It had only taken us 3 hours so we took a nice long lunch.
The Kiwi couple came along and joined us inside. It started to rain a bit and the sun was coming in and out of the clouds. Emma said, only in New Zealand can you get wet and sunburnt at the same time! We weren’t keen on leaving the hut in the rain, and I could tell Crusher was getting antsy as she was used to PCT time, which means stopping for too long doesn’t get you anywhere! It’s a difficult habit to break and it took me a while, but now I love a long break.
The trail then followed a 4wd track so it became even easier. The rain never came to anything and it was a nice temperature for the rest of the afternoon. I walked with Crusher and we had a good catch up on everything, following the 4wd track meant we could walk side by side which was nice. There were a few big puddles and mud patches but all were easy to avoid and we actually finished the day with dry feet, which after looking at the map yesterday was unexpected.
It only took an hour to reach the next hut which was our backup plan had it been terrible weather, but there were also a whole bunch of people there, and about 5 cars parked outside, so we avoided it and carried on. There was an established campground up ahead but fearing it may be busy and noisy we chose to camp just before that near the lake. This lake is a popular tourist destination because it was used to film some of LOTR. It was only 5pm but everyone was happy to call it a day when we reached a nice flat area. My feet were really sore today and I was feeling tired. We pitched our tents and it would have been nice to have been able to sit outside as a group and chat but of course the sand flies were unbearable so we zipped ourselves away.
I made my noodles, I decided to eat two packets, and after eating them had a little lie down where I fell asleep for about an hour. I really was tired and in a food coma. I think I was lulled to sleep by the noise of the waves gently lapping at the shore of the lake.
It’s so awesome to be out here with Crusher, you’re never sure if you will see people again after you meet them on the trail and we were really lucky that the timing for this worked out so well. It wouldn’t have happened if pervious events hadn’t of occurred, I’ve been having such a great time these past few weeks, maybe everything really does happen for a reason.
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.