3 Mar. Light rain started overnight, so on daybreak about 06:30, I prepared my usual porridge and granola on the gas stove in my tent. First time I have done that in this tent but it worked fine. The rain was off and on and getting out of my tent I caught a full arc rainbow. A beautiful sight.
It was a later start this morning and I was walking at 09:00. Katrina and Mark were about 15 mins behind me. It took me that time to scramble up the steep bank out of the river bed area; I am not sure I found the actual track there. A light steady rain then started which persisted until about 13:00. The first 10km was through farmlands, a gradual climb up Avon Burn valley, most of it on a 4-wheel drive track. At midday a station hut (Tin Hut) was a welcome shelter for a lunch break. Katrina and Mark arrived soon after and were considering whether to stay there for the night. A 14km stretch with 700m climb was required to reach Top Timaru Hut. I pressed on at 13:00, expecting to be there by 18:00. The track was an old 4-wheel drive track all the way, so going was good. The rain had stopped by the time I reached Martha Saddle and I arrived at Top Timaru Hut at 17:30. The hut is a small 6 bunk hut and it was full as many of the occupants had arrived the previous day and decided to sit out the rain.
I set up my tent above the hut as it was quieter than down by the river. There was no shelter from the wind anywhere and it was gusting strongly. I made sure my tent was well guyed out to avoid a broken tent pole as happened on a tramping club trip last year. My foil wind shield was essential for the gas stove. Dinner was dehy spaghetti bolognese.
Stats for the day: 26km with 1000m climb in 8:30 hours.