Day 19 – Nelson Lakes – Waiau Hut to Anne Hut

Waiau Hut to Anne Hut – 26kms

Total – 329kms

We had a sleep in today and did not set off until 9am. It was nice not rushing out. The trail continued down the Waiau river valley. It was a nice day and started to heat up by mid morning. The valley is wide and flat and the only obstacles were a dozen or so stream and river crossings until we got 20kms down and branched off to the west into another valley and connected to the St James walkway. I managed to keep my boots dry for the first few stream crossings but it didn’t last long. I had wet feet all day. I lathered my feet with Gurney Goo this morning before we left. It is like vaseline with a few other additives that helps keep feet healthy when they are going to be wet or muddy all day and when your socks are five days without a wash. It is also for preventing blisters and chaffing.

It was an interesting day today. At 12pm we came across the support crew for the St James Ultra. An annual event for 60km mountain bike trail and included 100km runners and a couple of 100 mile runners. Thats about 27 hours running for the 100 mile. The support crew had a marquee set up which was nice to have a break under. There was no other shade in the valley. Curtis asked if they had any beers as a joke and not expecting that they would. They offered a cold sauvignon blanc instead! Curtis and Janet were keen, mostly for the novelty. I declined because I thought it would be counter productive with another 15kms to go in the hot sun. 10kms down the track there was the second tent. They had a tank of electrolite drink and jet plane lollies and gave us a can of Speights each to take with us. So after getting to the hut and settling in we sat down and had a beer together. That was a well earned beer and went down well. Just as we finished it we saw the four Land Rovers coming down the valley towards the hut. They stopped in to make pizza dough so the dough would rise on their way to Lake Guyon where they are staying for the night. They also had a portable pizza oven. They gave us another beer each and took all our rubbish with them so we didn’t have to carry it out. A great bunch of guys who were really greatful to have the opportunity to be up here as you need a special permit from DOC to bring any motorised vehicles in to the area so normally the only way in is a multi-day hike or mountain bike.

The three of us had lots of laughs this afternoon at the hut. Curtis reflected on his big three week adventure from Ship Cove to here as his journey will be ending in two days from now and then back to work.

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