• Kay

Day 97 Yesterday was just the warm up

Wednesday 15 January Te Matawai Hut to Nichols Hut Start 6.30am Finish 4pm Distance 12km

Steps 18,648 Total 1,562km Elevation 1,300m Weather: changeable from damn cold and overcast, to windy, to sunny, then back to overcast and bloody cold. Yesterday was just a warm up for today. Out the hut door this morning to an incredibly cold morning with an immediate 600m climb to warm you up. It was so cold I didn't take off my hat and gloves the whole way up to that first summit. Then the walk along the ridge had the added chill factor of a reasonably strong wind. I added another layer of clothing. I would not like to do that in any semblance of a gale. I can see how people die up here.

Mountain daisy

The views were once again incredible. Steep valley after valley. Nothing but mountain ridges all around me. The group had naturally dispersed themselves and after lunch I didn't see anyone until the hut. What stunned me was I passed two people, and was only passed by one. I was the fourth to arrive a the hut (the first two didn't stay at the hut), and others were still arriving after 7pm. I am finding I am much fitter than I realised. I am not overly tired, even though it was a strenuos day, and many of the younger people (well everyone here is at least 20 years younger than me), are complaining about how awful and hard the day was.

The range starting in the middle foreground and curving to the left and into the distance is where I have walked this morning.

This is the ridge I am walking this afternoon. The hut is just below the ridge line above the bush line in the distant range. Mt Crawford (tomorrow's hike) is in the middle of the background.

When we were in canopy it was hobbit land again. Drawf beech trees, from the constant gales I assume, all completely covered in moss, as are all the rocks and fallen logs. It was brilliant to walk through. At one point through the hobbit forest, theough the trees I could see a near vertical ascending slope in front of me. Common sense told me the track must surely skirt around this feature. Don't be so silly Kay. Since when did common sense prevail. The trail required actual climbing, hands trying to find tree roots and rock crevices to pull myself up. Nothing like taking the direct route. All part of the adventure.

Yesterday I was disappointed at the rubbish and empty gas canisters that had been left at the hut by previous people. Probably by TA hikers. Today I was so impressed that a couple of the guys have carried this rubbish out with them. Kudos to them.

The cloud coming down on Nichol Hut

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