Stone Hut to Camp Stream Hut – 21km (2344km total)
The morning started with a few river crossings as the trail followed bush stream up. Thankfully, it wasn’t as cold this morning and there were only a couple of crossings. However, it continued to be a challenge at times to work out where the trail went as the markers were few and far between.
I tried to leave early-ish to beat the heat, however with the sun coming up later now, it is becoming harder to get up early in the morning. Thankfully, because the trail followed the river bed, it was mostly in The Valley and protected from the sun for a few hours first thing in the morning, until we made it to Royal Hut.
It is said that Prince Charles and Princess Anne spent the night in the hut as children, hence its name. However, I am pretty sure they were choppered in, so I question if the hut deserves the name. I think they should name a hut after me for walking all the way in!
The trail then continued to follow the river before rising steeply again to go up to Stag Saddle, at 1925m it is the highest point on the TA. So of course once at the top, I had to get a jump shot, which I still can’t make a proper face for. We spent ages at the top, having lunch, enjoying reception on our phones and chatting to some Nobo hikers.
We then decided to take the ridgeline down instead of the trail which followed The Valley down. It was a good call, despite being unmarked it was really easy to follow track and was clear dirt or scree track, unlike The Valley where we would have been battling to find the track and poles through the tussock grass. All the way down there was fantastic views of Lake Tekapo for most of the afternoon.
Today I am thankful for majestic ridgeline views.