19. Kintail – Upper Spey (Dusky Track 7/8)

Wednesday, March 1: Cloud cover in the morning, fog in the mountains, becoming sunnier in the afternoon, a bit cooler

Tramping: 7.1 km

Upper Spey Hut (Doc)

“Seven o’clock, people,” was the waking call for the second last day of tramping, and the bottom bunk and the couple on the top one were soon up and about, and I spent a little more time in bed until I was sure that Matt & Christoph were also awake, and then I joined the others. Breakfast this morning was cheese instead of salami, and two eggs were there for the taking. When packing everything, Gort couldn’t find his rubbish, but after everyone had left, except for the last three of us, there was a rubbish bag with an empty deet container and some dental floss in it, so I picked it up on my way out to return to him.

I left at around 9:30, and today’s walkwires were the wobbliest due, I suppose, to rocks coming down in the spring snow melt damaging parts of them. After leaving them the ascent started and I soon reached and overtook Paul & Kerrie. The ascent itself didn’t seem to last that long, and I had an hydration break at around 11:30 just on the tree line. There was still a bit of a climb across the alpine zone until the top of the pass was reached. At that point I downed my pack and had lunch. Three others had left their packs and gone up Memphis, but it was pretty foggy and not worth taking photos from the very top.

On the way down I met a Scottish guy, Bruce, who was in cotton and canvas sand shoes, with a pack that didn’t look too comfortable & he was planning to do the whole Dusky to Hauroko & back, because he couldn’t get transport on Lake Hauroko. Not sure whether that is going to work out well.

Downclimb was a mixture of mud, streams and quite extreme vertical rock faces to climb down. One other challenge was a sea of rocks without much vegetation, and only one marker somewhere in the middle and nothing visible on the far side. Eventually I made my way down through the vegetation and back up again to the track. For the most part the rest of the track was good, except for the last 100 m or so which were the deepest mud, and no way of finding a detour. Then (and only then) did the board walk turn up.

Met an Australian, Peter, who turned out to be a member of the Exploding Stove group, who was walking alone, camping (two nights on Mt Memphis where there were near to no sandflies), and “doing track improvements” by lugging rocks into the soup, and he turned up later at the hut briefly as well.

Over the last pass. GPS quality: 30/30, coverage: 80%, download: Kintail - Upper Spey GPX (1108 downloads)
Can’t see map? Click here!

Once at the hut, dropped my boots, trouser bottoms, & sox and changed into the spider man suit, started a fire after clearing out the ash and now everything has quite a toasty temperature. Dinner was again the rice with oxo cubes.

Longer discussion around the table at/around dinner about which boat to take tomorrow. I think I’ll be off the track tomorrow as well, if I can make it. One more night so close to the end is not going to make much difference.