11.30am Te Matawai Hut Tararuas
I think we made the wise choice not to try and get here last night. Although taken just over three hours rather than four its been knee grindingly steep and our legs were already weary from our longer route up to last nights hut. We don’t need to bust a gut and conditions here are superb.
The weather is stunning, clear blue skies and little wind (human or weather). We must have a guardian angel looking out for us as these conditions are as rare as an outburst of emotion from Chris. With over 200 days a year covered in cloud and another 164 blowing a gale!
6pm Dracopyllum hut
Knackered! No discussion about trying to get to next hut today. We are staying put in a shed! Smallest hut so far, can’t be more than 3m by 2m, sleeps 2 in bunk beds. Its actually quite cute, just hope no one else turns up.
Chris is making tonights meal, 3 dishes, bacon carbonara pasta, potato flakes and rice. We expended a lot of energy today as it was constant ascents and descents with very little flat. We have climbed 1200 metres and descended 1100 metres. Which is at least the equivalent of going up and down Ben Nevis, UK’s highest mountain with full packs. My knees certainly know it. Bet you can’t wait to see the calf muscle development!
The Tararuas are amazing, we are seeing them pretty tame although at one point the clouds appeared quickly and came down to where we were walking above the bushline (the bushline is about 1100m and highest we got to was around 1400m.) There is a memorial beacon to a tramper that died on these mountains (Ralph wood) and serves as a poignant reminder of the potential danger. There are just so many ranges, ridges, spurs and valleys uplifted together in a mass of tightly compacted contours that it looks like a giant’s maze. Some of the high altitude forest is stunning too and we’ve just walked through some eerie beech trees for the last hour where you could almost expect to hear a Fangorn Ent start talking to us, “barraroom you two smell like a goblins a£%4e”
OK, dinner is now being served so bye for now!