17 Jan. Firstly thank you to all who have made donations to the charities I am sponsoring. 57 of you so far and still a couple of months to go.
From yesterday’s glorious day to the longest day. 11.5 hour day from 07:30to 19:00, covering 26km with about 1000m climb. The track gave us: scree, very steep slopes, root ladders, rock scrambles, narrow ledges, steel rope protected traverses, shoe wetting river crossings, river bed travel. The Europeans exclaimed at a rest stop that this was not walking, but didn’t have a word for it. Welcome to New Zealand “tramping”. In the hut tonight are Freya, Anise, Holger from Germany, Stephan and myself.
Apart from sandflies, there are few native things that bite or sting. However wasps are non-native and a problem in this area. They build underground nests in the root system and if on a track, they are a menace. The first person in a group alerts the wasp sentries and the next person walks through a swarm. That was me today, walking behind Stefan. I found I can run quickly with a 20kg pack. Got away with only 5 strings. Takes the focus of the sandfly bites, but all OK.
We have reached the stage of food fantasies at meal times. People have selected food to save weight, so don’t have much variety. One guy was living on wraps and chocolate spread. Everyone is selecting their food dream when they reach St Arnaud. I am doing well on my chilli-con-carne, alternating with pasta and rice. Going to try mash with it tomorrow.