3 Feb. The plan for today was to be at Arthur’s Pass Village by the evening, however the river levels forced a change to that. The light rain had continued through the night. Everyone was awake about 06:30 and I was off at 07:45. I caught up with Demelza and Rau and decided to stick together for any potential river crossings. We made good progress to the Kiwi Hut track junction. Fred and Rachael joined us a km further on just before crossing the Taranakau River. Another km further down we reached the Otehake River, but it was too fast and deep to cross. The river bottom wasn’t visible and I tested the depth at the best spot and it was chest deep a meter from the bank. We explored up and down stream, but it was too fast and deep (video below). Everyone was happy to go back to Kiwi Hut to sit it out. A total of 15.5 km today.
We arrived at Kiwi Hut at 13:00 and it already had an occupant. Diego has already spent 2 nights there, hoping for a lull in the rain to get through Deception Valley.
A hut afternoon, full of conversation putting the world to rights, before selecting meals. Mine was a pasta, just boil for 10 mins. Then at 19:00 another 5 people arrived having come from Hurunui Hut No 3. (Alex and Heather from Devon, Sam from the USA, Rosina from Yorkshire, and Thomas from Sydney). 13 people in a six bunk hut. The newcomers decided to camp outside, so there weren’t bodies sleeping on the floor that night. The couples managed to double bunk. The joys of youth!
Having the Garmin inReach was useful in sending messages to family about the forced change of plan.