We went undisturbed in the tent, in part because we were both asleep within a minute of getting in. It was a completely clear and dry night and we woke up nice and warm with neither frost nor dew on us. After a quick breakfast we hiked back out to the trail and continued on.
The sky was again cloudless and we were on flat but completely exposed terrain. The walking was quite easy but we needed hats and sunscreen right from the start. Within 5km we hit a stream that was our last water source for most of the day so took a quick break, chugged some water, and refilled our bottles. Today was really just covering a lot of distance over very much the same terrain. We past a couple cool lakes and some interesting mountain features but for the most part it was just walking.
We did have one brief climb that afforded some good views and from there descended down and out to a road. It was getting pretty hot out at this point and we were starting to feel tired. It was long and hot whichever way you looked.
The notes had sneakly hidden in another 4.4km of road walking for today. So when we hit this road and realized we decided to push through to the end before breaking for lunch. 4.4km on road when you can see your destination from the start is pretty tough and to make matters worse the wind started to pick up at this point. As we neared the end we found a gate with some signs against it that we leant against for shelter from both wind and rain while we ate lunch.
After lunch we quickly reached the turn off from the road and headed onto the next track. This was again a very easy track being pretty much flat and on 4WD but was very exposed and quite windy. We were battling pretty hard against the elements and would jump into shade whenever we could.
On this track we passed two groups of two heading the other way. The first couple stopped to talk to us and told us they’d crossed the Rangitata that morning and that it had been fine. The second couple looked burnt and miserable and didn’t stop.
We descended down the saddle with views over the lake and town. The descent was quick but when we got to the bottom with about 10km left to go the day really started to get hard. We were constantly walking into very strong winds with no break whatsoever. To make it worse we were also walking into the sun as it was starting to go down so couldn’t keep our hats on and could hardly see.
While the views were technically fantastic and we could see really far it was certainly our toughest day on the South Island so far. We were both super miserable the whole time and the wind completely beat us up. We’ve ended up stopping just short of the Rangitata at a little campsite at the side of the road. Hoping for good weather again tonight!