Richard started off at a cracking pace on his fresh legs, whilst I tried to keep up with my creaking body...We arrived at the hut to be greeted by a group of French guys who were smoking roll-ups and moaning about the price of tobacco in NZ. For reasons best known to them they had cranked up a fire, despite the 27 degree weather, so we elected to pitch our tents. It was then that I noticed that the French crew had a stove that, instead of a gas canister, needed lots of twigs to heat anything: A really lovely contrast to all the many jet boil stoves that most TA trampers use to heat water for their Backcountry meal pouches.
As seems to happen all the time on this trip, I met Stefan again on the track and was excited to see him. This was not only because he’s great company, when he sticks around - but also because he and Richard could zoom off at warp speed whilst I ambled on, listening for birds and looking at the views. Unlike the guys, I’m not training for an adventure race or wanting to join the Australian Police special ops team.
We had a verrrrrryyyy long day on the Alpine crossing route and after speaking to 3 other trampers who had decided to turn back because of mist, we headed on, screwing our courage to the sticking place (apologies to Macbeth fans, but I love the visceral image this quote conquers up).
I’m still attempting to get some pictures from the Go Pro and hopefully will be able to post them in here soon but meanwhile have posted some from my phone, The small orange toilet below has the best view from a dunny anywhere in the world I reckon. Mind you Richard was a tad shocked when getting water, to see an arc of French piss heading his way, so maybe not everyone appreciates a good toilet view....
...Anyway we made it out to be met on the walk out from Redhill hut by a young American guy wearing ‘comfortable’ shoes (aka slippers) and carrying the ever-popular Warehouse $20/5kg tent...As he was looking tired on the 4 wheel drive track, I hesitate to guess how he managed the Alpine section...I fear that I will hear about him again, as the trail has its own internal communication system: I was asked many times if I had heard about those "3 English women in Rocks hut, one with a bung knee..." Latest update via the ‘grapevine’ suggested it took them 11 hours to get out on a 4/5 hour section. But at least, hopefully, they are now safe!