Te Matawai Hut to Nichols Hut (Tararua Ranges)
Today started with a big climb up to summit of Pukematawai. The track was very over grown in places with thick tussock grass and shrubs. At times there was no “track” and we were climbing rock faces. At the summit the views were incredible. You could easily see the south island and for miles in every direction. We were also surrounded by all the other peaks and ridgelines of the ranges which was very impressive.
It was a bit of a mud slide coming down off the summit. We walked along a saw tooth ridgeline for several kms coming in and out of the forest. The forests are amazing up there.
We did lose the trail a few times and had to trace our steps back and use GPS to guide us. There were lots of big fallen trees over the track along the way which were challenging at times to get over or around.
One final climb up to Nichols hut which is on the ridge line leading to Mt Crawford. It is another big climb tomorrow and we are expecting the day out to Otaki Forks to take between 8 to 11 hours. The weather will be deteriorating as the day goes on so we need to be coming down as early as possible. Jesse and I have decided to get up and go at 6am. It is bloody cold up here overnight and in the morning but we have another massive climb ahead if us starting as soon as we walk out of the hut so that should walm us up.
Staying at Nichols hut tonight. It is a small cosy hut with 6 bunk beds. There are 8 of us here tonight. A couple offered to pitch their tent so we can fit. They are doing the ranges very slowly as one of them injured their knee on the way up so it will take them twice as long and they are having to ration their food out carefully too.