We drained our first DoC water tank last night.
Is there a law against that?
In the morning, just before the three of us left Blue Lake Hut, I climbed up to the top of the tank and peered in at what was left of the water.
Perhaps all just-about-empty water tanks have grey scum balls suspended in their murks - but next time I drink from one I'll try not to imagine the skeletons of little hands and tails I saw in the bottom of Blue Lake's one.
We'd done a near-circumnavigation of the lake after breakfast. It truly is a thing of beauty.
FYI: It's the clearest known body of water on the planet.
How clear? Apparently, the maximum theoretical visibility of distilled water is 80 metres. Blue Lake's underwater visibility is 75 metres. Divers consider being able to see 40 metres under the sea as extraordinary. The water is so clear that it looks almost like the actual colour of water. I thought water had no colour, but apparently it's a blue-violet.
The water gets as pure as it does because it has to drain from Lake Constance, 150 metres above, through one of the largest rockfalls we've ever seen.
BUT WAIT A SECOND...
As we packed, a young German came powering up the track to check the lake out. He returned shortly after.
"It's got green weed in it," he said dismissively as he left.
Oh well...you can't please everybody.
We reckon the lake is amazing. For what it's worth, I thought the lake looked delicious and reckon that it would probably taste of Blue Moon flavouring if I could dip my cup deep enough into it.
BACK TO WORK
Our day's walk was a short one of only seven kilometres. Our packs were light and it was largely downhill.
We followed the Sabine River from the lake all the way to West Sabine Hut. The scale of the valley seemed too big for New Zealand. It looked like something from the Rockies in The States. I expected a bear to come around the corner at any moment.
As we've walked on we're seeing less and less Te Araroa walkers, but to make up for a lack of actual walkers, we're imagining them.
We've heard a weird rumour that we're about to get passed by a couple of monks doing the trail as a pilgrimage.
It would be cool if it proves to be true, but we reckon it's probably just trail whispers. A description lost in time, distance and translation.
I think it's more likely we're about to be passed by a couple of monkeys.
Having said that, apparently there's someone paraponting the trail just up ahead and there's a comedian doing the trail for a TV series too. We'll believe it when we see it.
Next there'll be some Indian software engineer running it in sandals in some sponsored attempt to make us all believe that sandals are a good, safe and viable option for New Zealand tramping footwear.
The trail down to West Sabine Hut was heavily marked with Avalanche warning signs. The kind of DoC signs you don't ignore...although many of them had been pulled out or were half dismantled.
West Sabine Hut is on the Nelson Lakes circuit, a popular route for regular trampers and tourists - ie non TeA walkers.
We shared the hut with five others and our last remaining Nobo friend Anna, who ran over a snowy Waiau Pass that day. She avoided the water tank at Blue Lake, before arriving at West Sabine before tea.
There was another rumour around the hut that night. Old Nobo track mates Andrew and Peter are at Saint Arnaud.
It would be good to catch up with them again when we get there in a couple of days.
But we'll believe it when we see them. It's probably a couple of Australians called Andrea and Petra.
* This public relations effort gets the Whiowhio award for Bullshit Outdoor PR Stunt of the Year. We met a couple of TeA hikers who say they met this guy on the Waiau Pass in the snow...apparently, he had some company PR flunky (Dan, the co-founder of the sandal company) walking in front of him digging footholds for him. Reading the (completely unchallenged and often questionable) article that appeared in Wilderness Magazine recently, I was left with way more questions about his epic journey than he answered. Yes...walking NZ in sandals is amazing...but not compared to what (ex-Palmy guy) Jory did...Read Here.