6.30pm Waiopehu hut, Tararuas
The sun is shining, we are in a nice hut and have eaten a pretty good “trail meal” of Moroccan lamb accompanied by garlic and green bean enhanced potato flakes, followed by…. Wait for it……reconstituted Apple pie (much nicer than it sounds)! We have bacon and egg sarnies to look forward to in the morning thanks to Sally and John. What a life!
Brent and Julie have joined us in the hut, they live in Palmerston North and last did the walk 10 years ago but had forgotten it being so steep to get here and looked mightily relieved to get to the hut. Brent is American and emigrated here in 2000, Julie is a kiwi originally from Wellington and now works as food and nutrition research scientist.
This morning we were once again luxuriously spoilt by Sally and John with a lovely coffee, and poached eggs on toast before they took us in to Levin for supplies. Before we left , using Sally’s indestructible laptop (she had got it because she carried it whilst being winched between boats when she was in the military and it needed to be tough), I managed to get a few photos loaded and published with the latest blogs but not many so hopefully when you read this my dear reader you can savour the visuals I will have now updated.
I was put in my place on the muscle development front when Sally showed us her “scree slope scrambling” shin muscle which bulged like a bicep. Very impressive but she wouldn’t let me take a photo.
I did manage to tease out what wine Sally liked best (sauvignon blanc from Marlborough which has a delectable fresh crispness achieved from the grapes after receiving a few frosts) and we bought a selection of bottles as a token of our gratitude. We were chauffeured to the start of the trail by 10am and we were ready for anything the Tararuas could throw at us (well almost).
Prior to meeting Sally yesterday id texted Tim, who Karla and I’d met in Pureora, to see if he was around as he lives in Levin. He’d tried to get back to me but signal had gone so he had kindly driven and then walked up the trail to see if he could meet us to then stay at his house. I phoned him this morning and left a message to thank him for his efforts and kind offer and we exchanged texts wishing each other all the best. Aren’t kiwis just fantastic people!
With spirits high and renewed vigour and vim we launched ourselves onto the trail and in our unbridled enthusiasm to attain 800metres of elevation before lunch you guessed it…….. we went up the wrong track! By the time we reconnected with the right track it had cost us an extra 90 minutes, and over 3km extra of the most steep gnarly path humanly possibly to ascend. This path is called the “six discs” and we concluded this is the number of slipped discs encountered on average by hikers foolhardy enough to attempt it. Chris’s energy sapped with a sugar low at this point and we stopped for a sweets intake to refuel his blood with fructose. This had a transmorphic effect and there was no stopping the bro after this. I had a job keeping up with him and he was seriously considering walking to the next hut even though it could be getting dark by time we got there. Luckily the sugar must have depleted in time and we concluded to stay here and take on the challenge of mounting Richards Knob in the morning!