There were no mice last night which was great. Just before getting up I heard rain but when I got up there was some blue sky and I was optimistic that the clouds would burn off.
I had a robin join me in the hut toilet which was a little strange. I left the door open to get some of the insects out and the Robin hopped in and started eating the insects.
We left together as last night I suggested we stick together for the two river crossings at the start and then go our separate ways. It was light drizzle that was clearing. The river crossings were not as bad as I was expecting. Despite the rain the rivers were running clear. We crossed the Taramakau River and it was not even knee deep. The Otehake River was separated into several channels, all except the last knee deep. The last one got my undies wet but only just. Luckily the water was not as icy as a few days ago.
We then kept together all the way to Morrisons Footbridge 15 km away. Everyone was moving at a good pace and there were no breaks, less taking off rain gear as the sun came out, so I was happy staying with the group. It was a novel experience walking with so many people but enjoyable.
The track was largely on the river flats which had lots of stones which are not easy to walk over. There were a couple of times into the bush, once with no trail to follow as I think the original trail had been washed away. At the junction there was a choice of the flood route or along the river and as it was a nice day we choose to walk by the river. There was a wide plain of river rock to walk over and several crossings, one of the Otira which was the most challenging of the day but still well within my comfort level. I knew there was a vehicle track along the main road so when the river squeezed us in that direction we took the tracks to the footbridge. There we said goodbye to Rachel who had to get back to work and I took off after a short rest.
As much as it was a nice change to walk with others it was nice to be by myself again. I was now heading up the Deception Valley which is the run route of the Coast to Coast Multisport Race which is famous in New Zealand. I have done it a couple of times so was familiar with the route. After a short stretch of marked track it was then unmarked and I just followed the river following beaten track where possible. I remembered some bits but had forgotten others. I remember the track being a lot easier but I guess when running with no pack you just bound over everything. By the end I was feeling a little tired. I was enjoying the Kea flying around. It rained for 30 minutes then cleared up again.
The trail had a lot of places that are just jumping along the boulders beside the river. There were also frequent crossing of the river from one side to the other. Overall I really enjoyed the challenge. It took me 6 hours from the footbridge to Goat Pass Hut which is only 14 km. For future TA trampers allow plenty of time for this section.
My stomach was better today and back to just occasional twinges but still feeling bloated.
After my robin experience in the toilet this morning everytime I went to the toilet this afternoon there was a Robin watching. It was cute this morning but was then just creepy being watched so intently while doing my private businesses.
At the hut I washed the last of the river gravel out of my shoes and prepared dinner. Fred, Nev and Michael were not far behind me in arriving at the hut. I sorted through my photos so I had more time when I get to Arthurs Pass tomorrow for posting my blog, eating and relaxing.
The hut has no fire and it was cold. Cold enough to see our breath. We all had our jackets and hats on. On the plus side is the incredible views and a friendly Weka.
I am finishing this update listening to the Keas calling out near the hut.