Day 84 – Between a Rock and a Hard Place

We camped last night without the rainfly as it’s been beautifully clear for the past three or four days. Of course when we went to bed there were clouds rolling in but nothing that looked too dangerous. I woke up to Heather telling me that it was raining. As it was already 6:30 anyway we just decided to get up and moving. We at least had a dry night most of the night. Even though we got up and 6:30 and were cold with no shelter we somehow still didn’t hit the track until 8:15, we seem to really struggle to start anytime but between 8:00-8:30. The track started out continuing alongside the river for a few more kms to the Arthur’s Pass Bivy. A tiny two bunk hut. From there we climbed past the river and up through the pass.

By now the rain had largely stopped and we were starting to get some sun peaking through. We kept on our rain gear but began our descent to the next hut thinking we might get some clearer weather.

The descent was fairly tricky being steep and rocky but we made it down in good time and decided to cook additional couscous for lunch in the hut. At this point the rain had also stopped and the sun was coming out so we took off our rain gear. There were some warnings in the hut book from NoBo’s about the conditions of the track for a flood route up ahead but NoBo’s know nothing so we mostly ignored it. Unfortunately while we were eating lunch the rain picked up again in full earnest and we had to re-don our rain gear before heading out again.

The valley opened up quite a bit after the hut and we quickly found ourselves on open grassy patches and navigating boulder fields with some crossings of the river interspersed.

We passed Kiwi Hut and continued on down the river towards the junction with the highway. By now the sun was out in full force but the wind was also blowing very hard and we had no protection. The trail also quickly disappeared and we were left attempting to navigate ourselves across the rocks and river bed. It was very miserable and slow going for awhile and it wasn’t for a few hours that the trail officially picked back up again.

Back on the trail we reached the junction for the turn off to the highway and the flood route pretty quickly.

We were supposed to be on the flood route but this was where the NoBo had earlier warned that it was impassable and the notes also said we may want to opt for the river if it wasn’t in flood. After a few steps on the flood route and seeing how impossible it would be we quickly opted for the river. It was a lot of bouldering but we made it across in good time and relinked up with the main track. The river was high and we had to cross several places together so hopefully it doesn’t rain to much more ahead of tomorrow.

We kept going a little further passed the bridge and found a reasonably flat spot to camp amoung the gorse bush. Not soon after we’d set up camp the rain started again so we huddled inside eating dinner and killing sandflies.

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