Today- 16km from Camp to carpark at 2305km
Shortie but a goodie today. Lazy morning at camp, everyone else seemed to leave really early but I had an extra hour kip.
Walking today was to the end of this section, at the north side of the Rangitata river. This river is another designated hazard zone on the TA, due to its ability to rise rapidly and being a multi braided river.
Although I had heard of heaps of successful people that managed to cross, I never planned to cross unless conditions were primo and I was with a group that I was happy with our river crossing abilities as a team.
As it was, due to the crappy outlook and possibility of the cyclone remnants passing through, we had all organized a ride out of the north side of the Rangitata river with Wayne who runs TA hiker shuttles for his company Alps to Ocean.
The shuttle was at four, so heaps of time to muck about on the trail. Easy walking on a 4WD track meant it would take me maximum 4 hours, but I left about 1030 anyway to not discount the possibility of a nap enroute.
Cruised through the valley and then climbed a tiny saddle which meant awesome tussock views down to Lake Clearwater.
The Canterbury section has been rich with awesome big wide views in tussock country. I’ve really enjoyed it.
The trail did some serious switchbacking – usually an unknown occurance on NZ trails, and kind of unnecessary here, and then veered of in the direction of the Rangitata river.
Super epic views ensued. Also a very good view of the not great weather to the Southwest. I chatted to some northbounders who were pretty freaked about their crossing of the Rangitata the previous morning saying they barely got through. Yea no thanks.
Had an amazing cheese and cracker break and lie down even though I didn’t really feel like I needed a break.
It’s awesome having time up your sleeve to chill out. As I headed onwards a few more kms the weather deteriorated and I put my raincoat on.
I passed Marte & Jasper and Yerin who had all been enjoying a swim and snacks, and then they in turn rolled past when I decided to have another break a couple of km on.
The final few km were alongside the Potts River which flows into the Rangitata. Absolutely awesome scenery.
Enjoyed some chill time waiting with the others at the Potts river carpark, and Wayne showed up early, awesome! We all piled in, and off we went on the dusty dirt road towards civilisation.
The plan was to get dropped off in Geraldine. I decided to head to the holiday park for a camp night as it was budget friendly and weather was fine for camping. Emeric and Dylan joined and a while after the others all came along too.
Contemplating different plans as the weather forecast was interpreted. The weather with vicious winds and rain was not going to be favourable for the next section from the south of the Rangitata river to Tekapo. This area, the Two thumb range, had a river hopping section for over 10km and includes the highest point of the TA , Stag Saddle, at just under 2000m. Definately a goodweather route!
I headed to the supermarket and Dylan[French ] offered to make dinner, his signature TA town dish. Pasta, curry, chicken, it was delicious and filling. Thanks bro!
I decided to go to Tekapo, and try do the Tekapo – Twizel section [1.5 days] to keep on track. It walks along the canal and doesn’t look to be affected with the coming weather too much. Then I’ll head to Mt Cook to visit my friends there for a night, and head back to Geraldine for Monday to continue with the missing section. Emeric & Dylan decided to join me so we will all head out tommorrow, sweet as!