TA Day 89- Waiau Pass

Today – 15.9km from Blue Lake hut to Waiau hutTotal 1996.2kmEpic. That’s the word for today’s tramp.Waiau Pass is one of the bits of track you hear about over and over again, kind of like the Richmonds.It’s a hectic mountain pass , which is challenging and hard work when conditions are perfect, and sketchy and treacherous when its windy, low visibility or raining.I had boosted it to Blue Lake yesterday in order to make it over the pass this morning with fresh [ish] legs and to beat any weather that was meant to be rolling in.I set off around 7.30am this morning, not too hurried, and made a nice slow and steady pace up the first climbs of the day, and lake Constance came into view.Wow. This lake, much bigger than blue lake, spread out in front in the valley and was clear beautiful water.The track cut high up above the lake and sidled along, before descending super steeply in the classic way, to the lakeshore where I met Marion and Francois enjoying a morning snack.We tramped together up to the pass, and I’ll let the pictures do the talking.It was a steep climb, but I must of stopped at least 15 times to take photos and enjoy the view.Lucked out with the weather, a breath of breeze and clear blue skies. So far so good.Huffed and puffed and bam we were at the pass, where there was a bit of wind so I enjoyed being at the top for a wee break but then popped over the other side for a sheltered snack break.The descent was what I had been a little nervous of, but in perfect conditions was no worries.A few down climbing scramble bits, but nothing I hadn’t done before. I’m pretty comfy with scrambly bits, and it’s actually nice to ditch the poles and use the hands sometimes.It was a long way down off the pass, but stunning views to whole way down to the riverbed.Had a delish lunch break at a nice spot by the river then trooped on another 8km along the river valley to Waiau hut.This day has been one of my favourites, alongside yesterday.Scenery at an all time high, but also stoked with what my body can constantly handle.Shout out to my knees for putting up with me and dealing with constant ups and downs.Waiau hut is brand new and a treat to arrive to snag the last bunk. Met some cool kiwi northbounders, Jules and Monica, and met up with a few familiar faces from the Richmonds, Oli and Emma & Eric.Looking forward to a shorter [6hr] day tommorrow!

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