Comyns Hut to Ashburton Lakes – 33kms
Total – 598kms
The first 8kms today we were walking up the Ashburton North Branch river and then up Round Hill Creek before a climb up to Clent Hill Saddle. The river and stream ran through a narrow gorge and we navigated our way up it, crossing back and forth about 30 times.
The climb up to the saddle was worth it. We were looking down into the expansive valley below. I have never seen anything like it. On the way down we were sidling the mountains on massive scree slopes. That was a real highlight.
We stopped for lunch when we got to the valley floor but I could not sit for long because it was really hot and there was no shade. We walked for another 15kms through the vast open valley, passing lake Emily, until we came out at Castleridge Station on Hakatere Heron road. At this point we were just looking for a place on the side of the road to pitch our tents but we needed water also so continued for another 5kms down the road until we got to the bridge over the South Branch Ashburton river. We dropped down off the road to a clearing with easy access to the river. The first thing I did was get in the river to cool off and have a wash. Then filled my water bottles and drank a couple of litres before making dinner.
It was a 10 hour day today and I am totally exhausted.