Wednesday, March 22: Variably cloudy, warm
Breakfast at Genie’s was muesli & yoghurt; I had found some instant coffee and made my own, and the toast was first defrosted in the toaster before appearing for a dressing of vegemite. I started working on: Getting transport to and from Picton, accommodation there, all the while waiting for confirmation from Marlborough Sounds Adventures whether they were going to let us have a boat.
Genie’s car needed a new battery, but before that comes about she called the AA for a jump start and took me down to town where I started off trying to collect information about the campsites around the Sound. Seems that there are plenty, and we should have enough time to find another if one is full. It was the same bloke who had given me the tip of using Tapawera Settle on the way off the Wangapeka Track and I used the opportunity to thank him for it. Read more…
Tuesday, March 21: Sunny to begin with, clouding over, with sun returning in Nelson
Tramping: 8.2 km
Genie’s (airbnb, $40)
Despite the late night I was up @ 8:00, had the last of the tramping breakfasts and was packed up and ready to go by 9:30. The plan was to walk to Kohatu and wait for the bus. On the way out of town I noticed that the school was also home to the public library and being shown there by the receptionist was told that for a small donation I could use the “senior internet” access. Got on and messaged Genie who reported back that moving the booking forward one night would be OK. Tried messaging Elizabeth, but wasn’t sure if it had worked. In any case I was out after half an hour or so and that relieved some of the pressure on the day.
Just before Kohatu was overtaken by Marcel & Jasmin and their small car which was packed full, despite which they offered me a lift. I wanted to walk the distance, however, and was in Kohatu just after 11:30. The only thing here is a cafe and I had a coke, had to restart the compass twice because the rucksack had fallen over, then went across the road to eat my muesli bars. In the course of waiting decided I would see what happened if the camera took some timelapse. First tried in “M” mode, but the camera stopped after a while; but in “Av” mode the sequence appeared to want to go on forever. At around 2:30 I packed up and kept an eye out for the bus, but it was nearly an hour in coming. Eventually it was there and despite the traffic in Richmond and Stoke was not delayed any further and arrived in Nelson at just 4:05 (fifteen minutes late). Marched up to Mount St, but Elizabeth was not at home, and then to Genie’s, where she was awaiting me with her friend Chris. He had tried intercepting me, but had picked the wrong bus. With a coffee to wake me up, things had to be organised. Read more…
Monday, March 20: Mountain clouds to begin with, becoming fine and sunny
Tramping: 19.9 km
Tapawera Settle Motorcamp, 19 Tadmore Valley Rd, Tapawera 7055, cabin ($75, including on-demand transport from the track end), hosts: Colin & Tina
One last attempt at finding the glasses last night by waiting until it was dark and using the headlamp to detect any glint was not successful, but there was a probe standing around this morning, so after breakfast I made the very last attempt also, alas, to no avail. After which there was nothing much left to do except pack everything up, sweep the floor, take out the ash (not very much, the hard red wood took a long time to get to burn, but when it did there was a lot of heat and not much ash) and I was ready to go by 9:45.
The very first part of the track was a bit of river skipping but after a bridge the mule route took over and it was very high and dry over the river, and quite flat. About halfway to the huts there were a couple of stretches of mud but apart from that everything was OK. I wasn’t pushing it and arrived at King’s Creek for lunch after around 2½ hours, after briefly considering staying at Cecil King’s Hut (historical) with its two bunks. Read more…
Sunday, March 19: Cloudy with some drizzle to begin with, becoming finer with a little sun shining through
Tramping: 18.6 km
Stone Hut (Doc)
The only noise in the night was the wood burning out, towards dawn some birds appeared (weka? kea?), and I slept through until about 8:00. Time for ryvita and salami but noticed too late that the salami had garlic in it and wasn’t particularly sliceable. In any case breakfast was soon dealt with and everything packed away for an early start.
Swept out the hut just prior to leaving, and the track was moderate. At about the point where the track to Helicopter Flat Hut left I met a couple from Sydney who were doing the Leslie-Karamea (to be followed then by the Heaphy from west to east, and the Abel Tasman). No one else on the track. Read more…
Saturday, March 18: Sunny to begin with, clouding over in the mountains, but then sunny again
Tramping: 20.3 km
Taipo Hut (Doc)
Time to pack up again. I was up just after 8:00; Sally had already left. I made two bacon sandwiches for breakfast, forgot the last of the size 8 eggs until afterwards and in the course of the morning managed to finish off both the milk and the fruit juice. Another couple of sandwiches were made for lunch on the track, then everything was ready to be packed.
Brian, my driver for today, wanted to know whether we could leave a bit before 11:00, which was fine by me; I only needed to check whether the ATM in the Four Square was going to be coughing up anything at all; after one last failed attempt I asked and was told that foreign credit cards weren’t honoured, so that’s that. Back at the hostel I packed everything up and the backpack was suspiciously light. Read more…