We left the beach and walked up one of the most vertical pieces of the trail to Pukituhu Hut. An almost one kilometre climb.
We did stop for 45 minutes to organise our Twizel (or Twizzle as the Americans call it) cheat.
That's right. We're planning to cheat. We've arranged to pick up a bike at Ohau and ride to Tekapo. The road is a fierce 100ks of straight lines and unchanging landscape that's synonymous with blisters.
We figure that if it's alright to canoe the Whanganui River as part of the northern TeA we can use alternative means on our southern trek. Just once.
We're still using our legs. We're still using human power. Just saving the soles of our feet.
More and more TeA walkers are choosing this option apparently.
Have I justified it? Do I care? Yeah...nah.
Onwards and upwards - kind of. 65 year old Ron powered past us with his guitar hanging off his forehead and a Tupperware container full of food and gadgets hanging off his front like a tray of ice creams. An unusual but highly functional system.
He didn't look tired but was a little worried about his medical insurance cover. Was this mountaineering?
We were impressed but a little disheartened.
We arrived at the hut mid-afternoon. Ron, Andrew, Peter and two casual trampers, Joe from Stuttgart and Julian from Brisbane, were sitting around in the warm, small and modern hut talking.
DoC had been through in the morning for a yearly tidy-up. I've never seen a cleaner long drop.
Ron could've cooked his tea in it.
We sat around, ate and watched the weather change. It was the wettest and coldest we've been on the trail so far. At about eight, three of us went up to the top of the hill to see if we could see where we'd come from.
Just mist and silence.
Then I heard the puffing. And the talking - but there was only one voice. It could be only one person. Anna the runner from England, the Energizer Bunny, ran out of the cloud and into view.
She'd left Hawea three hours ago.