The start of the tramp saw fits of light rain, but nothing that compared to the drive in. The weather forecast had said that it would be heavy in the morning and lessening after noon and then the next 2 days would be partly cloudy with a high of 18-20C. To start, we were all in our rain gear as the rain was just holding on, but would be shedding under layers fairly quick as day 1 consisted of gaining 600m of elevation over approximately 9km. We didn't get to see anything of the lake while slogging our way up as a dense fog settled over it. We did get to see some cool trees on the way up.
I'm kicking myself now as it was such a cool image, but I woke up in the middle of the night to use the toilet, which is out back. I put on my jandals and quietly sneak outside. Bam, there is close to a full moon, pockets of dense fog on the lake, and just the tips of land cradling the fog in place. I doubt my camera would have captured the image as vividly as I remember it. So I guess you just have to experience for yourself. In the morning, I wonder out to the toilet again only to run into my friend Csaba as I'm entering the hut. We talk briefly, but he, Kirsty, and her mom (the 80 yr old) are doing the tramp as well, but over 5 days. New Zealand is a pretty small place, in that I frequently run into people I know while out doing things. I come to find that Csaba left his camp stove at home as he recalled that all Great Walk huts have gas stoves provided, which may be the case for newer huts, but most if not all on this one did not. Since we had 3 in our group, I gave mine to them for the duration of their trip so that they could have their morning coffee and hot meals. Always check what DOC provides in each hut/campsite. It pays to be prepared or you might be stuck eating cold food for multiple days after being out in the rain. We mucked about the hut for a long time on Sunday morning grabbing dried rain gear, repacking bags, eating breakfast, and running back down the trail for some scenic shots. We probably didn't get on the trail till after 9am. Seems early, but when you've been up since before 6. That is late.
Day 2 consisted of doing approximately 20km and losing all the elevation we gained the previous day. Spirits were good as we started down the trail, knowing that lunch awaited us at the first hut/campsite we would cross. We would also have ample places to use the toilet and replenish water on the rest of the tramp. The next stopping point just happened to be about 4 hours down the trail. I believe we made it in 2:45. During this section, Rachel and I started talking about how this felt like the Fellowship of the Ring. Not that we were in New Zealand or even in a place where filming occurred, but we there were 7 of us with packs walking in single file to a destination in the future. We then proceeded to give everyone a name from the Fellowship. I was firmly anchored in the back, so I took on Gimli. Beth was Gandalf as she lead, organized the trip, and as I said old and crotchety. Peter was Aragon. We both instantly agreed that Banu was Frodo. Mike was Legolas. But now I forgot what we determined the others, Rachel and Paula to be. We talked about Ents and trying to place different city names. We were asked if we read the books or if all our knowledge came from the movies. We were nerding out, but then someone would say 'gilly weed' and we would go on a Harry Potter tangent for awhile. Ah, the conversations you have when tramping. I often lagged behind to take photos and would catch up to the main pack. Hence, why most of the photos I took are of people's backs.
happening. Beth and Rachel picked up the Water Taxi and were given a quick ride back to the other side of the lake. We ended up having an extra 45 minute hike out from the broken bridge. This was an older track that was quite steep and muddy. We seemed to keep climbing and climbing and sharply descending back to the road where we were greeted by a cleaner looking Beth and Rachel. Banu and Rachel drove right back to Auckland as they had to work on Tuesday morning. While Mike, Paula, and Peter came back to Kinloch.