13 Feb. Not wanting to disturb Allison any further, I waited until she got up at 07:00 and we made our introductions. She had a spent a rest day in Arthur’s Pass having come across Goat Pass the day before me. She has also started the trail at Ship Cove on 9 Jan, but in the afternoon, a few hours behind me.
As I didn’t get yesterday’s blog post written last night, I completed it this morning which meant a late departure at 09:20. It was a 550m climb for the first 5km but the track was relatively good, so not hard going. Great views over the Waimakariri River valley and back up to Mingha valley. Once Mt Bruce was skirted, the route turned south down the Harper River valley, with a good track in most places taking me through beech forest. Quite a few river crossings, but the low levels meant that my wet boots didn’t get any wetter.
11:30 at Lagoon Saddle Hut where I had a 15 minute snack break. Then at 12:30 I came across Thierry and Florence who were having their lunch but going in the opposite direction. They had a successful series of hitches from where we separated at Darfield to Lake Coleridge to start this section.
I reached West Harper historic hut at 14:00 for a 30min lunch break. The track continued to be a walking delight after yesterday’s scramble over Goat Pass and I got to my night’s destination Hamilton Hut at 16:00. 19km with 700m of total climb in about 6:30 hours. By then the morning cloud had gone and it was sunny and warm. Ideal for a river total immersion wash (getting used to the water temperature now), clothes washing, tent drying, battery charging, a shave and a cup of tea. 😊
Seven of us at Hamilton Hut; a nice spacious hut in a great location. Jen, Lisa, Sophie, Sebastian from Germany, Rodks from Cech Republic and Alison. Clearing odds and ends of food, so mash and tuna for diner with an apple to follow. One less thing for the mice to get at tonight.