Day 66 was spent in Te Matawai Hut waiting out weather. It was predicted to be windy, but the wind wasn’t too bad until later in the day. It was however, socked in with cloud. One patch of blue sky appeared in the morning then soon disappeared. I spent the day reading and watching Netflix on my phone. I also had nearly a three hour nap which was impressive. I thought I was asleep for an hour, but it turns out it was more. When I woke up the Kiwi guy came in to say that there was a stag outside. So I managed to tumble out of my warm sleeping bag to get a photo of that and learn about their antlers from the Kiwi’s. The Kiwi guy was a retired dairy farmer. I grew up on a dairy farm and my family are still on the farm, so I pretended like I knew what I was talking about and talked farming for a while.
Te Matawai Hut to NIchols Hut – 12km (1555km total)
It was only 12km to walk today but it took 8 hours which gives you a picture of the terrain. Mud, steep, rooty and exposed made for slow going.
It was windy and rainy overnight, but when we awoke, while it was cloudy, we could see more of the mountains then yesterday, so we set out. The first part up wasn’t to bad as it was still vaguely sheltered. However, once at the turn off the ridgeline was exposed and the wind was coming in from the side and it was not pleasant at all. As I was walking along I came across Y’s pack cover on the ground. I stopped to pick it up and hope that it had just blown off and it wasn’t a sign that Y had been blown over the ridge line like Mary Poppins!
I slowly continued on to the next hut and as I did the wind died down and the sun came out giving some spectacular views of mountains as far as I could see. We stopped at the first little hut for early lunch after 4.5 hours of walking and laughed at how ridiculous the ridge line and the wind was.
The track then made its way through very green forest. It was like I was in the Hobbit or the Lord of the Rings. It was only another 5km to the next hut we were staying at but that 5km took over 3 hours.
The Tararua Ranges really make you work for your views but when you do get the views they are amazing.
Today I am thankful for merino wool clothing that keeps me nice and warm on windy ridge lines.