Alarm clock went off at 6.00 but it was raining cats and dogs so we just slept longer and waited. It actually got better over time but we were still tempted to take the valley instead of tough two day hike over the mountains. The valley runs parallel to our track but just flat with an easy descent over 18km which would have gotten us to Wanaka in one or maximum two days. Since the mountains were completely covered in clouds and therefore no great views were to be expected and the trail was supposed to be challenging even in dry conditions we really thought about taking the easy way… Well, at the end we still did it. Maybe because the sign at the gravel road said “Private Property. Do not use. If you get caught you will have to walk back.” or because of the fact that the American couple which also stayed in the hut and left a little bit early also went up the hill and we didn’t want to feel like the weak cheaters… 😉

The trail actually was really worth it! We had to climb a very steep slope at the beginning and it was so hot and humid that I was completely wet! We went into the clouds very soon.

It was exhausting. Every time you thought you reached the top another little peak appeared which you had to climb.
We went from 800m to 1200m walking on the ridge going up and down for quiet a while. The weather got better and the clouds gained altitude so we even had more views.

But then we had to drop down into a creek on a very steep slow the entire 400m we gained.

It felt so bad especially seeing the trail going up on the other side in a steep slope on the same altitude again… Well, no way around it.

Descended into the creek with a little lunch break and up again on the steep slope. The track was good and even the sun came out. Very nice. The game continued – up and down on the ridge before we finally hit a saddle.

From here on you could see the track continuing on a scary looking ridge to the right. Ben and I sat down for 45min and just enjoyed the view complaining about the DOC that came up with this part of the track instead of using the valley. Also Jason caught up with us again and we continued down on the slope – again down the entire altitude we just gained for the second time. Spectacular but also quiet scary from time to time.

I am very happy with my new equipment and the less weight I have to carry. I can feel the difference on every step especially the ascending ones. Good decision!

It is funny how you would think you would have so much time to think. But once you are in your “flow” using the right speed for the current terrain and just concentrating on your next three steps and the path you really just feel empty and very silent. And when you look up the next time it is one hour later and you managed to do quiet a stretch. It is a nice feeling being empty not having to think about things…

We couldn’t see Achim, the German guy we picked up the day before, anymore. He had problems with his shoes and his feet so we hope that he continued down the slope to the valley and on the road where we saw him for the last time…

The last part was steep, spectacular and frustrating at the same time. Again you were giving up all the altitude that we had gained and you could see the track for next day just going up again. Well. Took us 6h (including two long breaks of 45′ each) to complete 11km. It really sounds ridiculous! But we probably did around 2000m of elevation.