Hamilton Hut to Harper River Camping Area – 18km (2206km total)
With only 18km to walk today to get to the next stop we could camp before a 30km stretch with no camping, we didn’t need to leave early so we had a leisurely morning in the hut and didn’t leave until 9.30am.
The hut warden was able to radio out to Arthur’s Pass Doc centre with e-mail addresses for my emergency contact people and a message that I was ok. So hopefully that gets through.
Most of the track until lunch time weaved back and forth across a river. There was a 4WD track to follow, but then it would just disappear and it was a game of guess where the track is. Most of the time it was easy to find again within a few minutes of crossing the river, but other times it wasn’t.
The highlight of the morning was seeing the pinnacles, rock formations in the side of the mountain. By 11am we had almost covered half of the distance so we stopped and had a very long lunch break.
The track in the afternoon was faint 4WD track along a farm fence line. As we got near to the western end of lake Coleridge where there is a camping spot set up. There was a very small receiver set up for Vodaphone. It took a while to get my Vodaphone sim to work, because I hadn’t used it since the start of the north island. But eventually, I did and was able to make contact with my family which was relief to know that they were not freaking out, thinking was injured. They got the messages from both SAR and DOC.
I also got a message from Y. He is all good. He looks beat up, is sore and high on pain meds but is otherwise all stitched up and will make a full recovery. It was good to hear from him.
There are about 12 South bound hikers here tonight who will all be trying to hitch out of lake Coleridge tomorrow as the track comes to the Ratia River which is unable to be crossed. So hikers need to get a lift around it to pick up the trail on the other side. So we will see, if we can all get hitches out of a tiny town in to Methven tomorrow.
Today I am thankful that Y is ok and going to make a full recovery.