Today-28.9km 2050m Elevation 2000m delevation from Top Wairoa hut to Red Hills hut
Today, we were super hikers. Smashed out an incredibly long, hot, challenging but rewarding day in the mountains. A real treat.
Due to the fact we were starting with an 800m climb up Mt Ellis, we left camp at an early 6am, to beat the heat. Well, let me tell you, there was still sweating at just past 6am, and also the morning sandflies had a good meal.
Getting up early is always worth it for a good sunrise, and it was incredible to watch the cute 6bunker Top Wairoa hut get smaller and smaller as we climbed higher and higher.
Mixed terrain, big boulders to scramble over, tussock as well, and beautiful tops walking.
we wound our way up Mt Ellis, and stopped just shy of the summit which Laine ran up and we all had a well earned break.
Straight down the other side, a huge descent to wake up the knees.
Golden country and epic views for miles. It’s amazing how the landscape has transformed in the last few days. It’s hot, dry and red, a stark contrast to the rockier terrain of the previous days.
Long descent down to a wide river bed, multiple stream crossings and then up another 100m in the forest and we popped out at hunters hut, perfectly situated on the edge of the bushline, with views of Mt Ellis from the deck. Met a few northbounders and enjoyed some snacks in the hut.
After a solid morning, there was alredy talk of having a big day and the possibility of heading all the way to Red Hills hut was floated.
We tramped on to complete the next portion to Porters Creek Hut, lots of ups and downs and epic views.
Today was insanely hot. Like, drink all your water and lie in the river hot. Every stream was a hat dipping opportunity, and I walked straight through all cold water pretty happily.
It’s crazy how much water we were drinking, and the constant sweat cycle we were in. The terrain was very up and down.
Another 300m climb up some pretty loose hot rubble and yay!we hit the 1900km mark. It is actually at the river before the climb, but a more epic view up here apparently.
Well done us. There were high fives and some pictures snapped and then we needed to keep moving to get into the shade.
Quote of the day, about 700m from the hut the track widens, Iben ” it’s a motorway!” And it was, complete with orange markers [hopefully you wouldn’t get lost here!?] And we rolled down to the hut.
Iben and I had been discussing pushing on to the next hut , as we knew the boys were keen, and were were kind of keen to give it a go, on the premise we had a decent lunch and break first.
Lunch was divine, I suggested hot lunch and had mash, and Iben had pasta, and power naps were taken all around on the bunks until a fellow hiker opened the door 20min later.
it was time to get going. The first couple of hours went by pretty smooth, lots of up and down. Some of the downhills are pretty tricky and high concentration as its dry steep dust underfoot and one slip could mean a slide down. So slow and steady.
In parts the trail has been washed out by big rivers rising and flash flooding so getting down and back up from crossing a river can be a bit hairy.
Tiredness crept in as we pushed past the 11,12,13hour mark. The heat stayed, but the sun gave us a little relief as shadow was cast on the surrounding mountains.
incredible to look back at the terrain we had covered over the course of the afternoon and know it was merely a third of the days work.
a couple of final climbs had Iben and I cheering each other on and appreciating the beautiful rock pools below.
we spotted the hut! Only a couple of km in front we plodded on, the opened up a tussock field and little by little a beautiful hut got bigger.
we knew it would be full, so got to work quickly putting up tents ,then having a wash, followed by delicious dinner and dessert with a splash of whiskey to celebrate the 1900km mark.
it was truly an impressive day and we were all stoked, and thanking our bodies. We worked out we did over 2000m of elevation and just shy of 2000m delevation. Our weary bodies collapsed into our mats and we are excited for real food tommorrow.