26 Feb. Rain and wind were forecast for tomorrow, so today’s goal was to get down from the mountains into Arrowtown. 26 km with a couple of climbs again, so it was going to be a longish day. Off at 08:10, it took me 1:10 to climb the 470m to Roses Saddle. It was then a similar descent into the Arrow River valley, but the gradient wasn’t as steep as previous days. I took the high water track along the river as the flow was high and there weren’t many areas of exposed river bed for easy walking on the low water route. I arrived in Macetown at 11:55, so that was 3:45 hours walking without a break. My endurance has definitely improved since the start of the trail.
Macetown is the site of an old mining town. Not much visible remains, but a conservation organisation is trying to preserve what is left. What I noticed was the large stands of non-native sycamore trees in the area, There is probably some history to that. As Sarah commented in a previous post, Macetown wasn’t a place to hang around due to sandflies.
I stopped for lunch in a sunny windy spot just before the Big Hill track ascent. No sandflies. 😊 The ascent wasn’t too steep but the track was overgrown and slow going in places. Alex and Sang overtook me on the way up to Big Hill Saddle, where they were having their lunch when I arrived. Diego soon followed and after enjoying the views we explored the top of Big Hill. The track on the descent into Arrowtown was in much better condition and a more gradual gradient.
I arrived at the Arrowtown Holiday Park at about 18:30. After tent pitching and a shower, Diego and I walked a little further to the Fork & Tap for beers and a meal. Dave and Baxter has eaten there on the way in. 26 km and 1200m climb in about 10:30 hours, which included 1:30 hours on Big Hill Saddle.
While in the camp ground kitchen on our return from the pub, Vikki who runs the holiday park was locking up. She was so impressed with Diego’s progress walking all the way from Cape Reinga, she is giving him a free rest day on the holiday park tomorrow. People are so generous.