1864 – 1878 Rintoul Hut

That was a seriously amazing day. Currently I am at Rintoul Hut with a small herd of goats but I started out at Slaty Hut at 7:00am walking along the ridge line on the Richmond Alpine crossing.

(I do believe I have broken my record for the most photos taken in one day as well.)

Why was today wonderful? Well, let me see…

  • The weather was great.
  • The views were magnificent.
  • I survived.

In order of appearance.

The weather today has been blue skies and no wind in the morning building to blue skies with some puffy clouds and gentle wind this afternoon.

In other words, perfect walking weather.

The views were of the Pelorus Valley when we started, with the Richmond Ranges on the other side of the ridge, but as we travelled we got the Wairoa Valley, the Nelson Valley, the Red Hills, and always as a background the Southern Alps and whatever mountain range lies to the south-east of Blenheim.

As for survival that might be a bit of a heavy word. All I really had to deal with was one small traverse over a 100m drop, lots of broken rock ascents and descents, a little bit of scree and that was it. More constantly nerve-racking than survival.  I’ll try and find a good photo. 🙂

1850 – 1864 Slaty Hut

We began our day by walking to Hackets Hut which was only an hour off and then up Hackett Creek to what was supposed to be Pyramid Rock on our way to Slaty Hut.

I have no idea whether it is (a pyramid) or not as I never found it. One gps check I was halfway to Pyramid Rock and the next one I was halfway past it on the way to Starveall Hut.

Starveall Hut lies just at the top of the treeline on Mt Starveall and was a good little six bunk hut. If I have my directions right, the view from there was across Nelson to the hills before Takaka.

Speaking of views, it was hard to walk with any speed due to them. At the top of Mt Starveall we could look ahead along the Richmond Ranges, left down a long forested valley that possibly meets the Pelorus Valley, or backwards towards Nelson and Motueka.

From there it was only a 1.5hr walk to our ‘hut du jour’ Slaty Hut.

1808 – 1835 Middy Hut

Although it was forecast to rain we were greeted by blue sky in the morning. It did cloud over later but that just makes for good walking weather.

First there was 13kms of road to get to the trail head. It was nice road though. Metelled with nice farms along the side and occasional views of the Pelorus River.

After the end of the road we walked through Beech and Rimu forest for an hour until Emerald pool where we sat down for a break and got my first reminder of how many sandflies are in the South Island. (Really. As I write this there are roughly two hundred on the outside of my tent.)

The next break was at Captains Hut, where we think some scenes from The Hobbit were filmed, and then onwards to Middy Hut.

Tomorrow morning consists of rising 700m over 3km which we were thinking of doing today but we have already walked far enough. Long may the slack packing continue!

1787 – 1808 Pelorus Bridge

Rain and wind (warm though) greeted us today but luckily the bakery was open so I warmed myself up with a mussel pie, steak and cheese pie, and a coffee.

Not a hugely scenic day today, probably due to the rain, and because mostly we were walking through farmland.

However, at the end of the farmland we entered the bush again and then got to the Pelorus Bridge Campsite which turned out to be the best campsite I have ever been to run by DOC. Right beside the river, massive trees, and they tell me there might be bats tonight.

They also have a cafe so to celebrate my good luck I ate a wild pork pie and then a vegetarian pie for health.

Unfortunately, this means I haven’t eaten anything out of my pack today so tomorrow it will be just as heavy with 9 days worth of food.