January 22, 2017
km traveled today: 0
total TA km: 1990
Very simple day today: due to the weather (heavy rain) we decided not to attempt the Waiau Pass route today, which would inevitably be low visibility and wet, if not cold and windy (although down here 500 meters below it hasn’t been that cold or windy). So we waited out the day in cozy 16-bunk Blue Lake Hut with five other thru-hikers – Kate from Switzerland, Lucas, Morgan, and Dominique, from Belgium, Sweden, and France, and Sam from Australia. Sam we just met upon arrival here last night and the rest minus Kate we met at Upper Travers two nights ago. The three Kiwi siblings doing the Travers-Sabine circuit stayed the night last night as well but left to continue on the circuit at around midday after a side day trip up the valley to Lake Constance, and another Kiwi couple, a French woman, and a French guy also continued on the circuit after staying the night too.
At late morning we were joined briefly by another Kiwi also doing the circuit up for a day trip from West Sabine Hut. Blue Lake Hut itself isn’t quite on the circuit but it still gets some or most of the circuit traffic as it’s only a couple hours side trip up a spur extending South from West Sabine.
Plus the lake itself is an attraction – it’s apparently the clearest fresh water source that’s ever been studied, with a typical horizontal visibility range of about 75 to 80 meters. For reference, distilled pure water has a theoretical visibility of 83 meters. We haven’t yet seen it, as it’s been crappy outside all day and we haven’t been able to force ourselves outside for long enough to walk 100 meters from the hut.
So it’s been a pretty chill day – since we knew the weather was coming, we woke up late, and we tried to move as little as possible all day to keep our calorie burn down. Unfortunately we discovered that even though objectively we shouldn’t be as hungry since we’re not working as hard, just sitting around all day gives our minds more free time to wander and think about food enough to make us feel hungrier than we would just concentrating on hiking all day.
We mostly napped, read separately, listened to music, read Harry Potter together, or played cards all day, and chatted with our hut-mates. Sam (the Australian) started fashioning a spoon from a piece of firewood. After dinner we listened to a show by the comedian Bill Burr that Lukas had downloaded on his phone.
Tomorrow we’ll pass by Blue Lake and Lake Constance on our way up the Waiau Pass route, and hopefully the weather will be clear enough to enjoy the sights and be safe on the pass. From the forecast that the group of three were able to get on their InReach, it looks like tomorrow should be getting progressively clearer so it might be a late-ish start.
Until next time!