Hope Kiwi Lodge to Hurunui No.3 Hut – 29kms
Total – 416kms
I went to bed early last night and had such a good sleep with a whole bunk room to myself. I set off at 7.30am towards Lake Sumner. After briefly walking through the boggy flats I spent the rest of the morning in bush with nice easy walking track and a couple more wire bridges. There was a side track for views of the lake which would have been fantastic if the trees weren’t blocking the view. The main track then descended to the lake head and Hurunui River that feeds it. I crossed the valley at this point to a long wire footbridge over the Hurunui river. As I approached the bridge, Scott and Jane were following a fence line along the flats to avoid the territorial falcons in the bush that have been swooping walkers over the past few weeks. I was lucky they did not bother me. On the other side of the bridge it took us a while to find the trail again. Our maps were wrong so it was a bit confusing. We arrived at Hurunui No.5 hut at 12.30pm so stopped there for lunch. I needed the lunch break as my energy levels were low and I had a bit of a headache. I think that is the effects of six days off the trail.
After lunch it was three and a half hours to Hurunui No.3 Hut. Mostly in bush again but the track was not as good and not well marked in places. There were more stream crossings and I did well to keep my boots dry. I found the famous hot pool when I walked past a steaming hot waterfall. I walked up and around it to the hot pool at the top. Richard had warned me not to go into the pool because a guy he walked with did and got cellulitis and that ended his TA journey. There was a warning sign from DOC next to it which read, “Amoebic Meningitis is fatal and caused by water entering the nasal passage. Do not immerse head”. I was overwhelmed by sandflies while I was standing there too so gave it a miss.
Tonight’s hut is not as big but is comfortable and cosy. It sleeps 16 and the bunks are three-high. Another TA hiker arrived not long after us. His name is Tui. A medical student from Wellington. We did our bits and pieces, made our dinners and chatted. The usual topic of conversation is around previous sections and different experiences, where people are from, what they do for work etc. Scott and Jane have turned 50 and kids are grown up so decided to do this sooner rather than later. They are under no time pressure and have rented out their house in New Plymouth. They are moving at a good pace though and faster than me. They know most of the people I have met along the way and turns out they were also at Miners Camp when we were on our first night.
Another guy turned up at around 7.30pm. He traveled from Christchurch and drove up to the lake in his 4wd then walked to here. He told us that there is another band of bad weather coming on Thursday bringing gale force southerlies, snow down to 1200m and lots of rain. We need to do a big day tomorrow to cross the Taramakau River before any more rain and position ourselves better to make it up the Deception river to Goat Pass hut the next day. Then it’s only a few hours up and over the Mingha track/river to Bealey. Scott will use his InReach GPS to get an updated weather report and if Thursday has heavy rain I will pull out on Wednesday and walk the road to Bealey via Arthur’s Pass village.