13 Jan. Arriving by shuttle at Pelorus Bridge early afternoon meant that I was one of the first TA walkers there. Nice shower again, but mustn’t get used to that! Thoroughly recommend the Circle Loop tracks opposite the campsite. It goes through a wonderful section of preserved native forest.
More walkers came in as the afternoon drizzle worsened. Getting the shuttle means I have jumped ahead to walk with people who started South Island earlier.
There’s Stefan and Robert from the Netherlands. First walkers I have met nearer my age! They haven’t got enough time to do the whole of the South Island, so are just aiming to get as far as they can in about 6 weeks. Stefan is an ICU nurse and Robert a management trainer. Other young walkers are Florian from Dunedin, Katrina, an Aucklander in London, and Freya. We are all heading for a 6 bunk hut. Could be full huts on this section, so I will aim for the furthest one, Middy Creek Hut, on this next leg.
It rained all night, but stopped at dawn. Wet tent packed away and breakfast porridge consumed, I was off at 07:15. The first 15km (3 hours) was on a rural gravel road, Then it was bush track paralleling the Pelorus River for 14 km. Fine drizzle meant the track clay, rocks and tree roots were slippery. Only two falls, but no damage.
Arrived at Middy Creek Hut at 16:15, a 9 hour day covering 29km with about 350m of climb in short stages. Tent up to dry, swim in the river, clothes rinse and a cup of tea. Florian, Freya, Katrina and Oceane arrived, followed by Rob. All bunks full. Chilli-con-carne dehy tonight.
Got some signal on a ridge today, 14 Jan.