2 Mar. Back to walking. We cleared the bach at 08:30 and I walked a short distance to Cycle Journeys depot in Twizel for the daily 09:00 shuttle to Lake Ohau Lodge. Herb was driving the minibus and he had a lot of bag pickups from locations where Alps2Ocean cyclists had been staying. Their bags would be at Lake Ohau Lodge by the time they had cycled there.
We also picked up Marlene and Mike who were cycling. They are visiting from Washington State, USA and unfortunately Marlene came off her bike yesterday and has had a few stitches in her arm, so they are taking a rest day from cycling but moving on by shuttle.
Herb dropped me off at the start of the TA track a few km before the Lodge. His face was a picture of disbelief as he lifted my pack from the trailer. It is over 20kg again with a week’s supply of food. Rain is forecast this week, but there are no major river crossings to halt progress The main goal today was to wade across the Ahuriri River before the rain, as if it is in flood, a 10km detour to a bridge is required.
It was 10:30 when I started walking. A steady climb from 500m initially though beech forest up Freehold Creek onto the Alpine tops at 1400m. The track had a good foot pad, so I was on the saddle at 13:30. On the way up I met two walkers. It was Katrina and Mark who I last saw in Deception Valley at Arthur’s Pass. They expected me to be way ahead, so I explained the story.
We walked on together down the Ahuriri River fast Branch Valley. River crossings are safer as a group so I walked with Katrina and Mark. They had already walked about 5km further than me from Lake Middleton campsite, but they pushed on and we reached the river at 19:30. On the way we passed Julia and Sarah camping before the river crossing; Anara and I had met on the Tekapo canal section. The river was fast flowing in places, however by selecting the bars at the end of a small central island, we crossed individually with poles, in water no more than thigh deep. We camped on the far bank. Dinner was dehy mushroom and lamb risotto. 27 km with 900m of climb in 9 hours.