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 views of the Wairoa Valley, 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 lot bit of scree and that was it. More constantly nerve-racking than survival.  I’ll try and find a good photo. 🙂

Hindsight

  • Hiking poles are recommended.
  • Look down at your feet and keep on walking and you will get to the top quicker.
  • I quite like those little black alpine butterfly’s.
  • On the way down Rintoul (down the scree chute) Adele lost her footing and then her way when she missed the track. Be careful.

Rintoul Hut Map


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1850 – 1864 Slaty Hut

We began our day by walking to Hacket Hut which was only an hour off and then up Hacket 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.

Silvin was suffering from some sort of gastric complaint which looked painful. Didn’t stop him though.

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.

It’s a great hut but there were some design problems. The chimney is too short and on the side of the roof that the water is collected off. This means all your water tastes somewhat like Laphroaig. Added to this the tap on the tank was broken so getting water was a slight mission.

Hindsight

  • Some people can walk through pain (I can’t, Silvin can).
  • Don’t burn rubbish in the hut fire places.
  • Starveall Hut is very nice, if small.

Slaty Hut Map


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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. Metalled with farms along the side and occasional views of the Pelorus River. Someone had made up a sort of set piece of old farm equipment beside the road. It is one of those places where you start looking for land for sale just in case you run into money.

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. When we got there there was a New Zealand guy who had run out of smokes so I gave him mine.  It’s a thing I do where if I can’t get tobacco, I don’t need it.

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!

Hindsight

  • Take sand-fly repellent.

Middy Hut Map


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1787 – 1808 Pelorus Bridge

Rain and wind (warm though) greeted us today. Luckily though, the bakery was open so I warmed myself up with a mussel pie, steak and cheese pie, and a coffee. No worrying about weight gain at all.

Not a hugely scenic day today. Probably due to the rain, and because mostly we were walking through farmland. I was disappointed to find that Hackets Junction wasn’t a hut at all. Don’t know why I thought it was. I was looking forward to stopping there for lunch but instead we had a snack in the middle of a paddock.

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.

Hindsight

  • Te Araroa tends to make you walk through farmland even when you are beside a road.
  • Walking in the rain is depressing.

Pelorus Bridge Map


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