Ahuriri River to Top Timaru Hut – 26kms
Total – 838kms
It snowed on the tops behind us last night and the wind was up so a very chilly start to the day. There was a short climb up a bank to get out of the river flats where we camped. We crossed Birchwood road and started to make our way up to Mt Martha saddle. We followed a 4wd farm track up the Avon Burn and stopped at Tin Hut for an early lunch. Cattle stock thought we were moving them up the valley so were walking ahead of us for a while. After lunch we started the 800m ascent up to the saddle, still on a 4wd track that went all the way to the top. The rivers running beside us were crystal clear.
Scott is nursing a sore foot so we took it easy but kept going at a steady pace. The terrain was very rocky. The wind was still up and was getting stronger and colder as we got higher up. I was layered up with my goretex jacket and pants, beanie and neck gaiter for most of the day. The wind coming over the saddle was incredible. The weather was coming from that side of mountains so we were very exposed once we crossed over. The gusts were at least 80-100km/hr. Over the saddle the way down was a very steep scree slope to the bottom. Thankfully the track zig zagged down the face. On the way down at times the wind would hit you hard and you couldn’t walk through it so we were bracing ourselves until the gust died out. One time I was side on to the wind and it caught me and my pack and pushed me into the side of the mountain. I couldn’t stop myself.
Once at the bottom it was a nice easy walk down the valley following the top of Timaru River downstream to the hut.