Locke Stream Hut to Camp after Morrison Foot Bridge – 24km (2141 km total)
I woke up this morning to crystal clear skies and a pink sunrise over the mountains from the hut. The morning was slightly easier than I was expecting. The notes said that the track for today was not well marked, so I was expecting to be playing a game of where does the trail go all day. However, out of Locke Stream Hut the trail was either through forest or over grass land, so it was pretty easy to see the trail tread even though there were limited orange markers. The biggest issue was working out where the trail was again after crossing a stream.
After Kiwi Hut the trail became harder to follow. This is where the trail entered the river bed and crossed the major river. This was the river crossing for this section that I was worried about, but after a night of no rain it was swift but not too deep, so easy enough to cross. However, later I met some hikers who said that they stayed in Kiwi Hut for two nights as the river was too deep and swift to cross yesterday during the rain, so they waited an extra night.
The trail continued along the river bed with lots of stone hopping, which is tiring to walk on, it then sidled up into a forest which was nice for a bit, but then became ridiculous up and over rocks and roots and fallen trees up the side of the mountain with the river below. So V and I decided to bush bash down to the river and walk back on the stones of the river bed. This mostly worked, except we would occasionally come to thick patches of thistles that we would need to whack through before getting to more river bed.
Once at Morrison Foot Bridge at mid afternoon we had a decision to make. The next hut was 6-8hours away on a track that should not be attempted in the rain. We knew that we could not go that far, which is a shame since it was the perfect weather day for it. The latest weather report that we got from some hunters was that weather would come in at lunch time tomorrow. So we made the decision to walk a few more km and came just before the track starts ascending up the river and there would be no more camping options. Then in the morning we would make the call of whether we would have enough time to make it to the next hut before the weather comes in or wether to back track and exit out at Morrisons Footbridge and road walk into Arthurs Pass.
Today I am thankful for safe river crossings.