We stayed overnight in Perry Saddle Hut with another group of five trampers. Four Germans were booked into the camping site, but tried to be a bit sneaky and stay in the hut. One of the girls in the other group firmly but politely told them that it wasn’t on, and that the higher hut fees cover stuff such as flying in the gas by helicopter. They eventually conceded and had to set their tents up in the dark.
I did my part for cultural relations, as when I was trying my head torch out it shone in one of the girl’s eyes who complained it was very bright. I exclaimed “Ve we vays of making you talk” having forgotten about the four Germans in the hut. Whoops.
Breakfast was porridge, which we had every morning. Been years since I had porridge and had forgotten how good it was!
We headed off around 8.30 am with 7 kms to cover to Gouland Downs Hut, and 24.2 kms for the entire day.
I’ve never used walking poles before, but have become a total convert. They really make a huge difference. I was only going to get one but was advised that two is better. I didn’t like the idea of no spare hands, but with two poles you really do get into a good routine and pace.
The first couple of kms were through forest.
Scott fording the stream.
Flowers up at 800 metres.
I was expected the environment to change every day or so, but on this tramp it sometimes change every few kms.
Crossing Quintinia Creek. I declared to the amusement of my group that if I ever have daughters I will call one of them Quintinia as it is a very nice name. You can call her Quinn most of the time and Quintinia when she misbehaves!
Out of the bush and the landscape opens up.
Great views of the plains. Sometimes you forget you are 800 metres up.
Again great variety in scenery.
I didn’t know about the shoe or boot pole, but it is quite famous it seems. There is even a high heel shoe and a roller blade on it!
Jane by the 1 km marker. Some walks have regular distance guides, but on the Heaphy you have no idea how far off you are until you get to the 1 km signs either side of a hut. They are a huge relief when you sight them.
Incidentally they are not actually 1 km from the hut. We noticed that some of the final 1 kms were a lot longer than others. A DOC ranger explained that staff were told to just walk 12 minutes from a hut and lay the marker down. So the distance depends on the walking pace of each DOC ranger!
Gouland Downs Hut where we met Ranger Matt. He was a great ambassador for DOC – very friendly and informative. He gave us the updated weather forecast, and told us not to believe it. He was right. It forecast sun for the next three days, and we got drowned the following morning. Basically whenever rain was forecast it was a good day, and when sun was forecast it rained. Overall weather was pretty good considering we had a forecast for non stop rain when we started off.
They call this the enchanted forestm just after the hut. It is like a movie set.
Tracey having fun on the suspension bridge.
Once again the environment changes.
This is Saxon Hut which was 5.4 kms on from Perry Saddle Hut. Most trampers stay here on the second night if doing the four night tramp. We were doing the tougher three night version, so only stopped here for lunch. Lunch was large crackers with cheese and salami. Fairly Light to carry and keeps well for multiple days.
As you can see, very different to the more modern huts. Still very cosy though.
Someone figured adding a nose on would make this the perfect Kiwi.
More great bush.
Tracey had mentioned that morning that her boots were ten years old and she may need new ones soon. That afternoon the sole came off at the front, so we had to tie it back on with my compass cord, to stop it flapping!
Is it just me, or does that look a little like Bill English?
Not only does the bush change often, the type and colour of the path does also.
This is us relaxing after the worst part of the track. It was several kms of basically mud. You realise how well maintained the rest of the track is, when you strike a part that isn’t.
We were pretty pleased to see James Mackay Hut, which was 11.8 kms on from where we had lunch. Spent around seven hours tramping.
Relaxing up in what we called our penthouse suite. The whiskey helped, except we decided that next time we need two hip flasks each – not two for the party.
The inside of the hut. Is due to be upgraded early next year.
Half a dozen Wekas came visiting during the evening.
Dinner was the second of our dehydrated dinners. They’re not going to win Michelin stars, but they’re not too bad.