30 Jan. The day started in Hanmer Springs with yoga and Steve’s excellent breakfast. After a final pack, I got on the scales. Body weight has gone up over the four days a kilo to 67kg. Pack weight has gone up to 24kg. All extra food! So that is a pack weight of 35% body weight. That will be no surprise to some!
Chara gave me a lift to the main highway at 11:45 and within 15 minutes, Don from Christchurch kindly stopped to pick me up. He is about my age and works for Waterforce as a sales engineer and was heading West for a job. We shared tramping and overseas trip stories. By 12:40 I had started walking again from Windy Point carpark.
The trail route is on the Hope Valley Track through beech forests and grass flats. The weather was being kind again; sunny and warm but with a strong cooling breeze. No real climb. I caught up with cousins Demelza (from Alexandra, Central Otaki- the gold nugget) and Rauhina (Rau, Dunedin) near Halfway Hut. At the hut Katrina was taking a short break. I hadn’t seen her for over a week. We all carried on to Hope Kiwi Lodge which is relatively new and spacious. I arrived at 18:30. Other TA walkers there included another Stephan who I had last seen at Ship Cove, Michael, Deigo from Argentina/France. Also in the Hut was Dennis and his adult sons having a boys trip. They live in Australia but Dennis was originally from Christchurch and had walked this area in his youth.
For me it was an 18km in 5:45 hours. Very little climb (250m). A stream close to the hut provided a quick wash and it had to be quick due to the sandfly swarm. I started eating into the pack weight with a venison casserole dehydrated meal for two.
Another hot night in the bunk room, kept awake by the sound of mice checking out all the packs on the floor. They got a nibble at my apple and sunglasses case.