We slept without the rainfly on again last night. I was pretty confident that it wasn’t going to rain and I didn’t feel like getting the rainfly soaked with condensation. I was right, and it didn’t rain, but I spent a lot of the night worrying about it potentially raining so maybe didn’t sleep as well. We were also pretty covered in dew when we got up in the morning. We did stay warm all night, which was nice. We got up at 5am to get going in the dark. The first 25km was on gravel road so there was no worry no doing it in the dark to start with and given that we have to hitch at the end of the day and get into town we wanted to maximize potential town time and chances of hitching.
It was pretty cold and we were hiking in our puffy’s but glad we decided to set out early. The road was pretty easy and we finished that section right around 11am, so pretty good time. This was made even easier by the simple fact of having dry shoes and socks. We’d been able to dry out and keep dry our shoes and socks overnight so hiking was 10,000x easier.
At this point there was only about 5km left to go for the day and it was on a little track that popped up and over a bluff alongside the lake. The notes warned that while it was a mix of farm track and none farm track we absolutely needed to stay on the poled route and not deviate. Of course not long in the poles disappeared off the nice farm track and went through a boggy, tussocky swamp. The notes warned that this section “may be wet underfoot” which in TA notes language means you’ll be up to your knees in bog. The trail never fails to disappoint in these sections and for 50m we walked through knee deep bog getting our nice dry shoes and socks soaked through and muddy again. The worst part was that it was 50m of that and then we popped back onto the same farm track we’d just left.
The views of the lake and surrounding mountains were excellent, but we would’ve appreciated keeping our feet dry for just one day. The track continued to skirt around the edge of the lake and did walk us briefly along the shore but for the most part it was through grass awkwardly avoiding the farm track (and just walking about 10 feet to one side of it).
Eventually we hit gravel road and from there we had a quick 3km walk, actually on the road this time. The last piece of track was a short pine forest section that took us above the Lake Coleridge power station and down to the lodge. The best part of this trail (other than the pine for Heather), was that we finally got a road sign we felt we deserved. Zero recognition on the road up to this point so we were very happy to see this sign.
From here the trail pretty much abandons us. It officially stops here and starts again on the other side of the Rakaia river. The Rakaia is huge and very un-fordable so the trail recommends hitching around. It’s about 50km out and then back in again on the other side and it’s not exactly a road that anybody drives on as it doesn’t really go anywhere. We did manage to find a ride and three lucky hitches later had made our way to Methven where we’re spending the night and resupplying. Tomorrow morning we’re going to ride a school bus out to the trail head (before it picks up any kids).