It rained lightly from a 4am so woke to wet tents and hastily packed up. Last time I did this section we took the highly dangerous upper tracks so this time I was walking up the river come hell or high water. The rain had only been light and was the first for weeks so we decided we would be okay.
Left at 7.15am up the river. I had on my new rainskirt fashioned from a black rubbish bag.
All good for about 1.5 hours. We were in and out of the river following in the footsteps of those who had made obvious trails to lead us in and out of the river. The rain was light and the water warm so we were a happy couple of old ducks.
Eventually we came to a gorge too deep and swift fir us to pass through as neither if us were ready to end our lives at this stage. So we made the call to try and climb up the ciff and get passed the gorge. So we went straight up until we got as far as our comfort level allowed. (Actually probably a bit higher). We found a relatively safe place to stop and decided we needed to go down and get into the river. Going down was even more scarey than going up!
There was a lot of thick Matagouri that we had to scramble through.
But by good luck rather than good management we found a way into the river and it was above the risky gorge part.
We walked along the edge of the river clinging to bushes along the bank for about a kilometre, pleased to be making progress against the flow of the river.
We met 2 girls on the other side of the river who were going the other way (SOBO). We tried to talk to them above the noise of the raging river but couldnt hear too much with our old ears. However we deduced that they were alive so it couldn’t be too bad. So off we went. Eventually w9e had to climb up another sheer cliff to find the track to Rose’s Saddle. A bit mean we thought .
So up we went in river out of river, then up hill saw pole. Looked too steep but went on anyway then saw the sign sitting there in middle of prickly bushes. Good on the right track
2.5 km straight up hill. Easy to follow track but steep and needed lots of stops. I was doing better than Kay which made me realise that I had gained some fitness from my 15 days on trail. I also always feel better when I am not the slowest one.
Kay completed a full SOBO the same year I did mine but she was a few weeks ahead of me. However she had missed this section because of bad weather hence her coming to join me. I was enjoying her company and I was particularly glad to have her along on the river section.
Signal at top then down for 2.5km. Seeing hut all the way. Arrived 3pm tired but happy.
Dried clothes etc watched 5 people take about an hour come down big hill we will climb tomorrow.
We play the game. Who is this? Walking fast, big packs, no walking poles, so not TA walkers. As they git lower we decided they had to be young, maybe hunters, no they look strong and I reckon they are army boys.
Yes 5 young army kids with huge packs at least 25kg plonked themselves down on the front steps. They were on holiday and decided to do Te Araora from Tekapo to Queenstown. Not owning any lightweight tramping gear they were using their extremely heavy army gear. I think they were very impressed with Kay and I.