Hello Darn Tough Vermont,
We are in Wanaka now and are looking at a couple days to Queenstown and then we will be in Bluff in no time after taking on some easy tracks and some road walking. So unfortunately I think the finish might be quick and a little boring but we still have the Motatapu Track which is apparently pretty impressive – lots of up and down!
Last time you heard from us we were in Greymouth heading back to Arthurs Pass to continue the track. We got moving and pulled out some really long days bringing us closer to Lake Tekapo. We faced two major complications in this section which was the Raikaia and the Rangitata Rivers, both now classed as Safety Zones – Natural breaks to the trail similar to the Cook Strait by the Te Araroa trust. If they aren’t crossable though it creates a logistical nightmare as it is a 2 and a 4 day walk around the rivers. As it turns out, before crossing the Raikaia a local came running down and “forbid” us from crossing! We weren’t going to argue with 60 years worth of experience on the river. The guy even offered to drive us down to Raikaia Gorge so we only had to hitch up the other side. As for the Rangitata, it took us a day to hitch around – 100+ km detour! We hitched around the Rangitata because it was raining and we weren’t going to risk a dangerous crossing.
We have been seeing colder and colder weather and it has become more extreme. As I write this we have just had a load of snow dumped on top of the mountains around Lake Wanaka. The day before yesterday we would have been up in that snow. But when we were there it was blazing sun and very definitely t-shirt weather. We are due to go back up above the snow line tomorrow – already down to 1,000 feet.
The story that sticks in my mind the most over the last 2 weeks or so was crossing the Two Thumbs Range. We were unfortunate in the fact that at the end of our 10-day section we became ill – whether it was food poisoning or giardia we don’t know but we suffered a lot. Climbing mountains and the highest points on the Te Araroa with our stomachs and intestines in revolt was certainly an experience.
We have been seeing some fantastic views and we have been playing around a lot with the camera so we have an enormous amount of photos.
I’m sorry I can’t write more but we are quickly heading on to Queenstown so we have a lot to do in a very short amount of time!
On behalf of the Tasty Trekkers,