TA Day 118- Tussocky mountains

Today- 16.2km from Fern Burn hut to Rose’s Hut

Total- 2615.3km

Today was all about climbing mountains. The Motatapu Alpine track between Wanaka and Arrowtown follows a pretty demanding line, climbing ridges over saddles and mountains.

I got going before 8, wanting to beat the heat on at least one of my climbs.

Shortly after the hut, passed the 2600km mark, woohoo!! Less than 400km to go.

The way up to Jack’s Saddle was pretty steep but I was feeling great today and despite heating up quickly, made good time.

The view from the saddle was awesome, looking back down over tussocky ridges down the valley to Lake Wanaka.

Met a kiwi couple hiking northbound at the saddle and had a good yarn to them about the upcoming track.

Frok the saddle it was a steep descent on the ridge down to Highland Creek hut, which was hidden around the corner up and over a couple of short climbs.

I made really good time there, and enjoyed a boots off break with lots of cheese and crackers and a good hunk of chocolate for morning tea. Sweet as!

After that, I kept going, wanting to make the most of feeling so good.

This is what sunblock in your sweaty eye looks like. Not fun.

Around the corner was the first of the two big climbs left of the day. This was straight up the side of the mountain. So much so that it you looked straight up at the marker poles it kind of hurt your neck.

Slow and steady I climbed up and up and up, gaining elevation quick. The track then followed a fenceline up the spur and finally reached a high point and then it was descending time. Again met some kiwis at the top, and had a good chat to them.

I had decided once I got to the bottom of the next steep descent to take my lunch and give the legs a break.

The descent wasnt too bad, just long, but my knees were feeling really good. Stopped at the cute stream at the bottom and enjoyed some lunch.

After lunch it was time to smash out the last big climb of the day. Another 500+ m to gain over a couple of km, I had been able to see the trail in front as I descended the last bit.

It flew past, and was actually easier than the last couple, and all of a sudden I was at the top! Again, more epic views down to Wanaka, this trail really had a lot of great scenery.

Had a quick break up the top and then it was time to descend again. Popped over the hill and saw the hut several km ahead, and a long way down.

Slowly descended, and approached the hut where I met a few others. More people showed up later including Emeric who had done a whopper of a day to catch up. Legend.

Todays track was pretty challenging but really rewarding. I’m constantly amazed by the performance of my body and arrived pretty early at the hut. In fact, I considered keeping on going to the next stop at Macetown but opted for a relaxo hut arvo instead.

Good crew at the hut with Emma and Eric, Liv and Dan, Emeric, Wieke, and some new faces.

Looking forward to hitting Arrowtown tommorrow where I’ll catch up with my friend Nina, who is one of my best mates I met in Canada.

We plan to take a day of together the day after tommorrow.

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