• Kay

Day 176 Harder than anticipated

3 April 2021

Princhester Rd intersection to Aparima Hut

Start 10.30am

Finish 5.50pm

Distance 22km

Total 2799k

Steps 38521

Ascent 1098m

Descent 929m

A hard day, made so by the tussock, terrain, swamps, climbing up hills and down, and difficulty finding the track. The comforting factor was arriving at the hut where two TAers had already arrived, and they had struggled with the track also, as did the person who arrived after me. I thought I hadperhaps lost my track finding and navigation skills, and had just really got to the end of my enjoyment of this journey. Fortunately it wasn't just me. One result of the difficulty I had was a lack of photographs. I just could not find the energy or be bothered to pull out my camera. Not that there was much particularly inspiring scenery that enticed me to take photographs - or I was just not in the mood for appreciating it.

It was a late start as I had to wait in Te Anau until the post office opened at 9.30am to post my bounce box forward. The shuttle picked me up at 10am and I started where I left off two days ago.

There was some beech forest today which was a welcome relief from the tussock. Not that long ago I used to love the tussock. I think the difference is the ability to move through it, and it is so tall. It is frequently above my head height, and with an indistinguishable trail underfoot, and an inability to see the marker poles above, progress is slow and often punctuated by multiple stops, retracing of my steps and falls. My legs and arms are now covered in bruises from the many tumbles.

The last 2km to the hut had been wonderfully cut back, so thankfully when I was becoming particularly despondent the going got relatively easy. Thank you so much to the people who did that.

Tomorrow is forecast for gales, and the track times are estimated to be long according the DOC signs in relation to the distances which suggests a hard track. Further to which there is only an open campsite at the end of the ten hours. Here is hoping the gales have abated by then...not sure of the resilience of my tent in those conditions. All in all a hard day today and anticipating a harder one tomorrow. For the first time I am feeling I really do want this to be at an end.

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