Te Araroa – Day 105

Manuka Hut to Lake Clearwater (Geraldine) – 15km walked (2305km total)

As we were hanging out in the hut last night. One person was telling us about some stories they had ready about haunted huts in NZ. One of the stories consisted of hunters being in a hut and hearing walking around the hut, like the crunching of snow walking but with no snow outside, rattling of doors and shadows entering into the huts. We joked as we went to bed that those outside tenting would walk around the hut and those inside the hut would walk around their tent.

Just after dark, once we were all in bed, finished reading for the night and starting to doze off. The door of the hut shook forcefully. J got up to open it and as he did, I whispered ‘ghosts’. The door opened to a black shadow.

Some hunters had made their way in late and night with their black lab dog. We invited them into the hut, but seeing us all settled and kind of sleeping they went back out and set up their tent. Aptly timed ghosts!

With 30km to walked today to get to Rangitata River near lake Clearwater, which the TA trust recommends not crossing (although people do) and then hitch into town. We decided to leave early-ish to give plenty of time for hitching. However, before leaving the hut this morning J pointed out that there was a road halfway along, that we could cut across on that would bring us out on the road that we needed to hitch off of about 15km earlier. I was sold at that point, I felt no need to walk in one direction, just to hitch back to where we had already walked to get around a river.

Morning views on the walk out to Rangitata River

It was a lovely morning walk out. J and I then road walked to get a hitch but V decided to do an extra 10km into Lake Clearwater before getting a hitch. We got out first hitch very easily from a guy who had been out rabbit hunting with his son. He got us to Mayfield, where we then needed to hitch 30km into Geraldine, but no one wanted to stop for us. It took 2 hours, the longest, I’ve had to wait yet for a hitch before a young guy who had walked the trail back in 2014 pulled over. Success!

Geraldine consisted of the usual town chores. Shower, laundry, resupply, eating fresh food and catching up on social media/messages from friends.

Today I am thankful for ghost stories.

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