Today – 15km from Bealey hut to Hamilton Hut
After a pretty good nights rest at Bealey Hut, a delightful clean 6bunker about 500m from the carpark, including some fun sleep talking from a fellow TA walker, it was off to walk another day.
The section from Arthur’s Pass to Lake Coleridge takes 2-4 days, but instead of doing 33km today, which would have been very doable, I opted for a short and sweet 15km to spend the night at what other hikers had been calling the Hamilton Hilton, aka Hamilton hut.
This is where I’m glad I’m not on a strict schedule. Although I am capable of walking further and faster than I have been for the last week, I’ve really been enjoying slowing down a bit and seeing the sights a bit more.
This also leaves room for awesome interactions with other hikers, or catching up on some reading or exploring around the huts.
Todays walk is on part of the Cass- Lagoon saddles track, a classic circuit. Really nice track, great views and graded track.
After a steady climb through beech forest and then a weird dark pine forest, the track broke tree line and epic views of the mountains and river valley could be seen for a while.
It was an amazing view, and one that stayed for a good few kms as the track meandered around the contour.
I came across Lagoon Saddle hut, a cute A Frame shelter.
The rest of the morning was beech forest and riverbed wandering, and came up to the West Harper hut about lunch time.
An historic hut, built in the 1950s, pretty cool with a dirt floor and epic open fireplace.
Did I mention I love huts? A few more kms had me swingbridging over a couple of rivers and arriving at home for the night.
In a spectacular setting, Hamilton Hut is definately one of my favorites. All wooden interior with an amazing central stone fireplace, a great deck and comfy interior.
The next few hours passed with coffee drinking, reading and snacking, but to my suprise only Dan & Liv [USA] showed up. I’ve been surrounded by people the last section but it seems everyone decided to take more rest in Arthur’s Pass.
A couple of other hikers showed up later , but its glorious having only 7 of us in big 20 bunk hut.
Tommorrows another short and sweet day , about 18km to a campspot, the last before Lake Coleridge.
From Lake Coleridge, I will start walking towards Methven, with the hope of getting a ride, as this is a TA Hazard Zone around the Rakaia River, a huge braided river which is unable to be crossed on foot.
My plan of unsuccessful in getting a ride [ it’s not a busy road] is to walk a big day of 40 odd kms to the Rakaia Gorge campground, where a hot shower awaits me. Then, into Christchurch- time for new shoes, woo!!