Te Araroa – Day 86

Hunters Hut to Red Hills Hut – 19km (1915km total)

The Richmond Ranges continue to throw curve balls at me. There is no flat hiking here.

The morning between Hunters and Porters hut wasn’t too bad. It was meant to take 4 hours but it only took just over 3 hours. However, there was one section where the trail was all gravel and less than 1 metre from the trail was a sheer cliff down into the river bed. I walked like a grandma with a walker along that section. The amount that I fall, I could just see myself slipping and then continuing to slide…The others, mountain goats that they are just bounded past me.

Photos do not do this justice. Note my two friends who bounded along this like it was nothing and me who took grandma steps afraid I’d slip and then fall 10m into the river bed below! 😬

At Porters hut, we had a nice long break in the morning sun. However, the morning sun soon turned to blazing hot midday sun as I continued to make my wat to the next hut. There were several rivers to cross, mostly of rocky river beds. After one of them about 30m up a cliff was the next trail marker. I started making my way up, but after 1m of elevation gain, I decided that it couldn’t be right and walked back into the river bed to look for a better way up. I found one but it was only slightly better. It entailed scaling a rock face the height of me and then climbing up a very steep, loose rock trail to the marker. At that point I was thinking ‘seriously, TA stop throwing these curve balls at me, just let me walk!’ A while later I came across Y and P who had sat down in the river to cool off, so I joined them and we sat there for almost an hour, before hiking on again. However, the afternoon sun was so hot that I quickly dried. The trail after that got better, less steep and rocky and for the 1km before the hut, I was actually able to stride out and walk normally.

Those mountains are so pretty in the photo, but I was baking at this point.
Note the river below, that we sat in for a good hour to cool off.

Tomorrow, is one big climb then it is down into the township of St Arnauds. I am looking forward to that. Pizza, showers, laundry. Luxury!

Today, I am thankful for rivers to sit in and cool off in.

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