Ashburton Lakes to Clearwater Lake – 21kms
Total – 619kms
At 2am I was in a deep sleep but woken suddenly to a man’s voice right next to me and his torch lighting up my tent. He said something along the lines of, “I know it’s a strange time to be asking this but do you have a car?”. It was totally obvious that we didn’t as we were in two small tents with backpacks outside in the middle of nowhere. He didn’t say hi first and just blurted out the question very casually. I simply replied, “no sorry mate we are on foot”, to which he replied, “do the people next you have one?”. I heard Jane say no and then there was nothing. I didn’t think too much of it at the time and went back to sleep but then when we got up later on in the morning and talked about it we realised how weird it was. Who was he and how did he get there at 2am? Why would he ask us if we had a car when he knew we didn’t? He made no effort to explain the situation he was in. I should have got out of my tent and talked to him but he just asked the question and was gone. Maybe he was legit and broke down somewhere nearby but then we thought sleeping in your car would be a better option than waking complete strangers at 2am in the morning. Maybe he had more sinister intentions but hard to know. It didn’t sit well with us at all though and was the topic of much discussion today!
Today’s walk was fairly easy and completed within five hours. Half way through we had a small climb up to a ridge where we were looking down to Lake Clearwater to our left and the Rangitata River ahead. We dropped down a switchback to the flats and it was 11kms to the terminus at Rangitata River where dad and Janeen picked us up. They brought us Powerade, chocolate, chips and bananas for lunch. It is 5kms across the braided river to the trail head on the other side and is not part of the trail as it is too dangerous to cross on foot.
On the way around in the car we stopped at Mt Somers township for more food and drinks and supplies at the general store. Then an hour and a bit drive around to Mesopotamia Station. The landscape here is incredible and where a lot of Lord Of The Rings was filmed. We stopped to look at an impressive stag with huge antlers on a deer farm.
We have an old three bedroom cottage on the station for the night. Dad and Janeen cooked sausages, peas and mashed potato with gravy for dinner. Scott and Janeen bought beers and wine and desert. I just sat and happily consumed! I might be struggling to get going tomorrow though.