I had to be woken up, the sleep on the porch was so good. No possums. No wind. It was cold but I had been warm.
The Thursday morning sky was pink with flashes of red through it.
We'd miscalculated our gas so were a bit unsure of our plans. The bikes (you'll have to read a couple of blogs back to get that reference) were booked for a Sunday pickup...but our gas wasn't going to hold out that long. You can't eat dehydrated meals without a flame.
Oh oh. Jungo. (See The Banana Bunch for that reference.)
We'd planned on stopping at Tin Hut 12 - 13ks up the road but it looked like a bit of a long one was called for.
So up and over the saddle it was. It was a 700 metre climb...over a bulldozed track.
Not your usual farm track, this one was cut through schist. The mountain was really just a pile of smashed rock with a few craggy peaks jutting out at the top. Whoever drove the bulldozer had done an amazing job.
I say "just" a pile of smashed rock...it was actually pretty spectacular. A bit like the Italian Dolomites without the ski lifts, crowds and refugios.
The incline was gentle and the icy wind kept us cool. We motored.
At the top - nearly 1700 metres - it started to snow.
We were actually having fun. Type 1.
More smooth track down and we got to Tin Hut for lunch in the sun. Peter and Andrew joined us.
The hut is still used as a musterers' hut and isn't listed as a TeA stop but people were using it. Lumpy kapok mattresses and all.
The graffiti on the old tin outside was outstanding. Crude cartoons. Signatures dating back to the 1940s. Love notes.
In 20 years even the badly drawn Fred Flintstone will look good.
As we left we agreed to meet Peter and Andrew at the Ahuriri River crossing a few ks on. Kirstine had shown Whiona a photo of where she'd crossed so we all thought it might be safer to do it together.
As we made our way down to the river banks the weather started to close in.
The guys were about twenty minutes behind so while we waited we made our gear watertight in case we fell in. We also picked ourselves about 750gms of...ripe red Gooseberries.
Tomorrow's breakfast sorted.
The Ahuriri River was about the same level as the Manawatu River in drought so the crossing wasn't hard, but it was a good practice run if we are going to cross any of the big braided rivers that start with "R" further up the Trail.
We linked ourselves together by holding each other in the way the Mountain Safety Council recommends. We felt incredibly stable with our two poles and each other's support.
But we were cold by the time we got out. Very cold.
Andrew and Peter had come through just behind us. As they changed we escaped to the shelter of the shelter belt a kilometre away.
Hmm. It seemed like a good idea to pitch a tent inside the trees. The weather was closing in and we figured it was called a shelter belt for a reason.
It was freezing. It was dark. It was windy.
We ate tea and got ready for bed. It was only 6.30 but it was so cold and gloomy what else were we supposed to do?
I went "out" to get some water and saw that the evening was actually warm and sunny...especially beside the next shelter belt.
Note to self: shelter belts provide shelter for the fields behind them not the idiots trying to sleep inside them.
It took us half an hour to move our stuff. We sat in the evening sun and watched as clouds gathered on the nearby mountains.
Our gas crisis meant we hadn't had any coffee...which I guess means we were actually having a coffee crisis. But we were warm and went to bed at a reasonable time.
At midnight there was a roar. It sounded like a jet plane taking off. A minute later the wind hit. Then the rain. Then the overwhelming urge to go for a pee.