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Day 118 Sad it’s the last day of the Ranges

Wednesday 5 February

Porters Creek Hut to 8km from St Arnaud

Start 6.50am

Finish 5.45pm

Distance 24km

Total 19,37km

Steps 33,213

Elevation 1,300m up 1,300m down

Weather: Overcast in the morning, then sunny

The Richmond Ranges has been the most physically demanding section of the TA so far, and the terrain the most difficult. It has made the Tararua Ranges look like kindergarten. Don’t get me wrong, I have absolutely loved it and it has been my favourite section so far. Where else do you get climb rock faces in the morning, swim in waterfalls in the afternoon, have the wind try to blow you off the ridges and then you peacefully sit and watch magnificent sunsets in the evening.

Wairau Valley

Chad has been the perfect tramping partner. I don’t know many people who could so graciously and patiently just roll with all my many idiosyncrasies, all the while enduring the relentless physical slog the Richmond Ranges requires and not once showing any ill humour. Chad did suggest deep fried Chapman was a good idea for his first meal back in civilisation when we were climbing a particularly large and steep incline, so he may have not been liking me quite so much at that point.

I’m writing this blog on my second rest day at home, so I have already forgotten the detail of what we actually tramped on day 118. As much as writing this blog is sometimes the that last thing in the world I want to do at the end of the day, I am so pleased that I do (mostly). The days really do merge into each other and the detail forgotten.

Chad's continuous daily and hourly view of me

In summary there was up and down in roughly equal proportions. When I thought we had done the final up, I was wrong. More chocolate was required to get me up that last hill. The views of the Wairau Valley were lovely, and Dave came and picked us up and took us back to Nelson to some well deserved rest.

The next section I was previously feeling apprehensive about, particularly over the Waiau Pass at 1,870m high, up a very steep, scree climb. After the Richmond Ranges my view is – bring it on!

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