Tarn Hut to Top Wairoa Hut – 14kms
After a short climb this morning it was all down hill to the Wairoa River which I crossed over a wire bridge to Mid Wairoa Hut. I was there before 11am and had an early lunch. Barry, Sian and Natasha, who I walked with over Mt Rintoul, arrived not long after. They have decided to exit today. Barry and his daughter Sian are experienced hikers but decided they have had enough and exited via a track that runs downstream out to a four wheel drive track where they will arrange a pick up. Natasha was planning to do the whole South Island but this section was enough to change her mind and she is exiting as well and going home.
The track running alongside the river involved a lot of sidling and at times on steep terrain with the river running parallel below. There was a fair amount of erosion and at times it was difficult to get a good foothold. I had to cross over the river eight times so had wet boots all the way. The river was beautiful. I really took my time as I was enjoying it so much. There was a short and steep climb up to Top Wairoa hut where I am staying tonight.
There are five others here already. They did a short day from Mid. I got the last bunk in the hut. Dave and Molly are here who we met on the Queen Charlotte track. There is Curtis and Matt who are mates hiking 21 days through to Boyle. And Ardie who started solo. They have formed a group since Slaty Hut through to here. They are a great bunch of people and we have spent all afternoon chatting and playing cards in the hut. Curtis was talking about how badly he has been craving Mi Goreng noodles. After a minute I clicked that I had a five pack of them in my bag for emergency food supply. What are the chances? He was super stoked when I gave him a few packets and cooked them up straight away. It turned out it was a case of good karma because guess who the guy was who gave his camp site booking at Pelorus Bridge campsite to the first TA walker who comes through? Curtis and Matt! I just thought I would ask on the off chance if it was any of them.
It has started raining here and we are hoping it will clear up in the morning for another mountain summit. Mt Ellis first thing tomorrow. The landscape changes dramatically from this point on as it becomes the Red Hills area. Still in the Richmonds. The red hills are a bit of a geological anomaly due to a mineral belt that runs through here.