It sounded like a cyclone outside for most of the night last night. It was still raining pretty hard when we woke up as well. Unfortunately when we woke we also found a mouse had gotten into our food supply. It had chewed through a couple things that we had to toss but we still have plenty of food so it’s not the end of the world, just pretty annoying that it was at a place we were paying to be at. We had a big breakfast and the rain cleared while we were eating. We set out for a late morning start and quickly found a hitch back to where we left the trail head. We hitched with three Americans studying abroad, one of them had gone to high school in the same district as me in Pennsylvania.
Back on the trail the path wound around next to the river and highway, crossing it and walking alongside it a few times. It jumped through a bit of forest and then mostly on to rocky and tusocky open fields. We stayed on this for a few kms and managed to stay out of the river all the way until the end. About 50m from rejoining the road there were two large river braids that needed to be forged and that marked the end of our dry feet for the day. The river was moving very fast and was quite high and it took a few attempts to cross. Eventually we found a decent place to cross and holding onto each other tightly managed to shimmy our way over. Don’t try this at home.
We crossed back up onto the road, passed the historic Bealy hotel, and continued on to the next trail head. It was a pretty miserable bit of road with hardly any shoulder and plenty of cars passing by but thankfully only a short section.
We stopped for lunch in the Bealy Hut, a very old looking six bunk hut, and then got started on the Lagoon Saddle Track. The first section was a climb up the saddle which started with a really enjoyable 1 hour section in forest. It was climbing quite steeply but there were no stupidly steep sections or large areas of mud. It was just a nice traditional windy forest climb on good track. It broke out onto tussock land with great sweeping views over the valley towards Arthur’s Pass.
Apparently the bog was reserved for the tussock. Though we’d done most of the climbing for the saddle, we had a few kms across the face of Mt. Bruce to get to the Lagoon Saddle and this included a lot of boggy and wet tussock. Heather managed to step in one part that went up to her knee. The only plus was we had magnificent views the whole way.
After crossing the saddle we descended to a small A frame hut and then continued on descending down to meet the river.
The rest of the track was in and out of the river and then up and down the banks. This kind of track is really annoying as you climb up one side, move along a flat meter, then climb back down to the river again. The only plus was the track was pretty quick and we were able to make up a lot of time.
We blew past the old river hut, crossed a few swing bridges, and arrived at Hamilton Hut. It’s a large 20 bunk hut and it’s just us and one other person so plenty of room. We’re attempting to mouse proof pretty intensely tonight but I feel they’re able to get in almost anything they really want to, so we’ll see. At this point I think we’re both going a little crazy and just hearing their scampering wherever we are.