February 21, 2017
km traveled today: 25.5
total TA km: 2506.5
Today was about as straightforward a day as we get on trail. The morning was gorgeous tussock walking up in the tops, and the afternoon was flat river following under a hot sun.
We woke up at 7:00 and Shep and I had our first muesli breakfast so far. We decided to take a break from OSMs for this section and went with muesli, milk powder, and bananas instead. We really dug the change of pace and look forward to our upcoming breakfasts of champions.
We left behind our awesome campsite (by far my favorite of the trip so far) and immediately broke out of treeline. The tussock-covered tops were fenced in by ever-familiar jagged rock hills in the background. We were climbing to the high point of the day until around 10:00 AM, when the walking leveled for the next couple hours. At around 11:00 AM we passed a marker under which some walkers had made a “2500” indicator out of rocks. Crazy to have less than 500 km left to walk. Still 1/6 left to go though! Nothing to scoff at.
We walked quickly toward the forest, hopping over plenty of small streams on the way, excited to get some lunch. We hopped the small fence and headed a few yards into the pine forest where we sat down on the cushion of pine needles for a nice long lunch break.
Afterward we headed toward the main channel of the Ahuriri river which needed crossing. We bombed down the riverbank toward the water and crossed with relative ease. For the largest unbridged river crossing (not including Rakaia and Rangitata), it put up not much of a fight. We got across and hiked up the steep far river bank. The hike up was covered in loose rocks so we had to be quite careful with our steps. The top provided a gorgeous view of the riverbed with great peaks in the background.
We’re starting to realize that our days left on trail are dwindling. That’s making it a bit easier than ever to fully appreciate where we are. I’ve said it before, I love traveling with these guys and it’ll be a triumph and a shame when we reach Bluff.
For now though, there are plenty of kilometers left to walk, hills left to climb, and hands of Hearts left to play.