Comyns Hut to Manuika Hut – 21km (2272km total)
It was cold overnight. Usually I sleep in shorts and a long sleeve top but last night I had on my leggings socks and puffy jacket, with my sleeping bag all the way up. It was so cold that it was hard to get going in the morning but a warm drink with breakfast helped.
I stumbled out of the hut in search of the sun that was shining on the peaks. I knew that first thing the track went up so I was pretty confident I would soon meet the sun and I would be warm. However, what I failed to see was that the track followed the river up, which meant that the track was in a canyon for most of the morning, where the sun did not reach until later. To add insult to injury the river had to be crossed back and fourth at least 30 times and it was bitterly cold. After one crossing I could not feel my feet, which made for slow going as I had no idea what I was stepping on with all feeling gone.
After an hour or two the number of river crossings eased and the sun finally reached us. It was then just a short walk to the saddle, the high point for the day, this provided spectacular views. The track down followed the side of the mountain across scree slopes, but I actually enjoyed it. It was level and hard pack (i.e. not slippery) and the views continued.
Once down again the track became typical TA again, with long grass, that prevented you from seeing the ground underneath you, gorse and a circular spikes plant that I don’t know the name of, but it too was very prickly. The result was my legs continue to look like they have been in a war.
We made it to the hut for the night and set about cooking dinner, one of the best parts of the day after the magnificent views.
Today I am thankful for for views as far as the eye can see.