Day 148 TA's highest point
Saturday 7 March Stone Hut to Camp Stream Hut Start 6.45am Finish 3.40pm Distance 21km Total 2,355km Steps 30,929 Elevation climbed 800m, descent 800m Weather: fine with high cloud The weather gods were with us today. The approaching rain held off, the cloud remained high and therefore the views over Lake Tekapo and across to Aoraki Mt Cook were incredible.
I started early trying to make sure I had a chance of beating any approaching rain. Unfortunately it was a little too early. It had just started getting light, but not quite light enough. The trail it often difficult to follow through the tussock at the best of times. In the semi dark it is nigh on impossible. When you can't see the trail you rely on the marker poles (when they are there), but again you can't see them in the semi light. The final hurdle is crossing the stream and of course you had to cross it three times in the first 15 minutes. In the dark you can't see the depth. After going wrong for the umpteenth time I was about to wait where I was until it came lighter, and the poles suddenly became clear. So I back tracked yet again (I was on a small bluff above the river and the pole was on the other side), and was finally on my way on the track. Anything I had gained in leaving early had been lost. Lesson learned. By this stage Martin had caught up with me. He commented he had just had the thought that wouldn't it be lovely to have dry feet for just a little longer in the morning. Incredibly that was exactly the same thought I was having 30 seconds previously.
It was a hard long slog up to the Saddle but not quite as hard as I expected. I actually think yesterday was harder. So I have traversed the highest point on the trail at 1925m. Yipee!!!!!. The views on the way up were great, so it may have been the number of photo stops that made the climb easier.
Once at the summit I stayed a little while, and took the obligatory photos. On the summit at the same time was Moritz (we meet yet again), and an Australian couple. It was also very windy and cold so it wasn't really a time for contemplation.
I then took the detour track along a ridge rather than going down into the valley. Although a little more climbing and slightly greater distance, it afforded magnificent views of Aoraki Mt Cook and the other mountains of that range. I had considered carrying on beyond Camp Stream Hut as I arrived here at 3.40pm, with the thought of camping further along to make tomorrow's 34km into Tekapo in the rain easier. I ate some food, massaged my feet and went to put my shoes on, and then promptly changed my mind and decided to stay. I will just take it as it comes tomorrow. I am really looking forward to a few days rest at Lake Tekapo. My body is tired and in need of simply staying still. This hut is adorable. Built in 1898 by the Mackenzie Alpine Trust. It is a tiny 6 bed affair and we are full to the brim. We all keep laughing at how early it is and yet we are all tucked up in our sleeping bags ready to sleep. Last night at Stone Hut was a Canadian gentleman who lives in Twizel. He is tramping just this part of the track. He had taken an inordinate amount of time to walk between huts yesterday and had really struggled. He is not carrying a tent, only an emergency bivouak bag. We are all concerned about him as he was planning to get over Stag Saddle and to this hut. There are no huts in between. It's a big day when you are trail fit. It is now after 7pm and he hasn't arrived. I hope he is okay.