Day 180 I can see Bluff
7 April 2021
Merrivale Hut to Martin's Hut
Today was good day despite the dire warnings of it being an arduous mud bath of a trail taking at least 10 hours. There was a mixture of tall beech forest, munted mossy beech forest, open mountain tops, tree ferns for the first time in a long time, and there was lots and lots of mud. Not quite on the scale of Ratea Forest in Northland, but making a real effort to be. If there had been any recent rain it would have been an entirely different story.
So I spent my day prancing and leaping from tussock clumps to logs to mossy mounds and whatever looked vaguely solid. I learnt I can actually prance with a pack! I hung from trees to swing over particularly wet muddy patches and on the whole managed to stay out of the worst.
Ken wasn't quite so lucky. Walking in front of me as we were gingerly skirting around a particularly large and deep mud pool, hanging off foliage to steady ourselves he miss stepped and slipped in. It went up to his mid thigh. I thought me was kneeling down, but no, he was standing fully upright. It took some considerable effort to extract himself.
From the first climb this morning we had amazing views all the way along the coast to Bluff. For the first time I could actually see the end of this journey. It was all a bit of a surreal feeling.
The hut we are in would be described by a real estate agent as a real doer upper. set in a stunning native garden with lush greenery. Built in 1905 it is actually very quaint, if somewhat dilapidated. It is also the very last hut on the trail.
I passed the 2900km mark today as well. So less than 100km of this 3000km walk left to do. Sounds a lot but also nothing at all. It really is so very nearly finished. I remember very clearly when I completed the first 100km and couldn't fathom how far I had to go. Now I can't fathom how far I have come.