Day 97 – Arthur’s Pass to Hamilton Hut aka “Hamilton Hilton”

February 8, 2017

km traveled today: 25

total TA km: 2198

We got ourselves up at a leisurely 7:15 and packed our stuff in the warmth of the kitchen. We sat eating our OSM’s until 8 when we finished packing our stuff up and walked down the street past the Wobbly Kea to the DOC office to ship a box of extra food to Tekapo (the DoC does not provide this service, nor does anyone in Arthur’s Pass, we just got lucky with an awesome DoC staff willing to help us out of our too-much-food pickle.)

We got it shipped and wandered around the office for a bit looking at the pins and shirts for sale and the 3D map they had of the South Island. We could see exactly where we are headed in the next ten days.

After killing time in hopes that it would warm up outside we split into our hitching partners, Jasper and I, and then the other two. Of course the other two got picked up in under ten minutes and driven the twelve kilometers to the trail head probably before the next car even passed us. 


Jasper and I waited for about 45 minutes till 9:45ish when a bus pulled over and we hopped in. We were driven down the road through the absolutely incredible scenery to the gravel road we walked up to Bealey Hut where we met Jack and Sam.

A couple minutes later we started climbing the 500 meters to our high point of the day. The climb was steady, altering between native and pine forest. We thanked ourselves for ditching the food we were going to be picking up and only carrying four days of food instead. The pine forest we were in spit us out into the alpine tussock grass we love so much giving us really incredible views of the valley below us and Arthur’s Pass back the way we had come. 


The clouds hung low over the mountains but it was still gorgeous. At 11:30 we hit almost 1400 meters in elevation and headed down to the A-frame hut. 



We decided not to eat lunch there so that I could keep walking and not give my toe time to be too painful.


We kept walking more or less on flat ground, slowly descending through a narrow valley in the mountains on either side of us. We took lunch next to the river we’d been walking next to all day, accompanied by the black flies and goose bumps we ate quickly. Throwing our back packs on we crossed and re crossed the river and headed back into native forest climbing up and down the rest of the way.

Just before the bandage on my pinkie toe became too bloody to stay on, I heard chattering in the trees above me and stopped to check it out. It wasn’t the usual gaggle of fantails that love to come check the smelly thru hikers out. There were Orange-crowned parakeets, maybe three or four of them, flying around in the trees above me.

The last four km’s to the hut were nice track. We crossed a swing bridge and then another really bouncy one that I really enjoyed using as a trampoline.

We got to the hut at about 4:15 and settled into our bunks. This really nice older couple started talking to us about the trail and telling us all about how they’ve loved the trail so far, and are loving taking there time doing it and meeting really nice people. It was really cool to see how excited they were about it.

After our dinner of cheesy cous we of course played some hands of hearts. Tomorrow, I’ll be in the lead for good (Sam’s really bad at hearts, it’s kinda boring playing against him).

Much love,

Will

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