13 Mar. I had a lift with Richard and Paul from the YHA at 07:30, so up at 05:30 to shower, breakfast and pack. Allison was in on the lift as well. We also to took Imri (from Israel) who was in the YHA and about to try and hitch. Paul dropped us off and we were all walking at 08:00. The first 6 km was up a farm track to Lower Princhester Hut. We were accompanied by a crop dusting aircraft dropping phosphate on the local grass lands from the local airstrip.
From the hut, the track ascended through beech forest, quite rugged with mud and roots as well as a 450m climb to Princhester Saddle. Over the saddle, the track improved and once descended through the forest it became more open through tussock and mossy bogs. A dry rocky bank by a stream provided a warm spot for a 45 min lunch break at 11:50.
Richard and I saw Allison quite a bit during the day as either we or she stopped. Allison was just ahead of us at Aparima Hut at 16:50. Imri wasn’t there so he must have pushed on; he had quickly sped away from us at the start. The 6 bunk hut wasn’t quiet for long as we were joined by people who had hitched out of Te Anau. Daisy and Svenja from Germany. I hadn’t seen Svenja since we finished the section together between the Raikaia and Rangitata rivers. John from USA. Roy and Sirkka from the Netherlands. Carolyn from the USA. 6 of us in the hut and three camped outside. The campers were hoping for a mice free night. One mouse ran over me as I was getting to sleep. Luckily my pack seals very well and the material is strong enough to deter mice chewing.
Today’s stats were 23km 700m climb, 8:50 hours.