Last night I was cold enough to need to zip up my sleeping bag for the first time in ages. Later in the nigh I had to unzip again as it warmed up. Antoine was off early and as he opened the hut door I could see another heavy mist.
By the time the rest of us got up the mist had lifted but it was overcast. This was nice as it kept the temperature down.
I was the next away at 0715. It was a short descent then following a track, which is now a luxury, along a stream. There were a couple of crossings but dry feet ones. As I was about to join the next valley two ladies came running towards me. They were doing a trail run as training to be support runners for Mal Law who is doing 50 peaks in 50 days to raise money for mental health. One of the ladies is doing Te Araroa by sections and was interested in my pack. After some discussion I reluctantly (yeah right!) gave them a tour of some of my gear.
Continuing on it was 5 minutes down the new stream until the climb started. I was really annoyed that at the base of the climb was a swampy bit that meant not only were my shoes wet but they were muddy wet. What made it worse was from just a little bit up the hill I saw the swampy area could be avoided if the track continued just 30 meters more before starting the climb. It was a short but steep climb to the Plateau which I followed the edge for a while before cutting back in to a ski field access road.
Right before the road was a stream so I stopped and washed my shoes and socks of the horrible swamp mud. To my surprise Antoine arrived. He started well before me. He had missed the turnoff up the hill and once he realised he took a very steep route up to the Plateau. He took a short break before continuing and then Fred and Nev arrived and took a break.
I took off and after the ski field road started following a former vehicle track that had a path caused by sheep that would have been perfect to walk on except it was too narrow. I felt like I was tightrope walking trying to stay on the track so I ended up with one foot in it and the other beside. I had to alternate as the track was sunken and I felt lopsided. Where possible I walked beside the track. It was really frustrating to have such a nice track unusable.
I stopped for a break at a spot over looking Lake Tekapo and Fred and Nev caught up and also took a break. The sun had come out now and it was getting hot again. When we started I made them go in front as they are quicker than me on the flats, especially when they can almost smell the beer waiting in Tekapo. I stayed with them for a while and we met two American northbounders. They recognised my name and said they had read my blog, I had answered their questions on Facebook and they were using my maps. When we left them Fred and Nev hassled me about being a celebrity as this is not the first time this has happened.
After another 10 minutes I realised I was walking faster than I was comfortable with given how far I had left to walk so I stopped to put some distance between the guys and me so I wouldn't be tempted to keep up with them. Now walking a more sensible pace I continued the descent to the lake.
Once at the lake it was a hot road walk for 13 km to Tekapo. I managed to get into my road walking zone quickly and the walk went quickly until the final straight when I could see Tekapo but still had 4 km to go.
As I got closer I left the road and joined the lake edge track to the two tourist photo spots in Tekapo; the shepard dog statue and the old church. There were busloads of Asians there so it took some patience to get my photos. It was then 5 minutes to town where I stopped for a pastry and smoothy at the Bakery before going to the Backpacker.
I had booked into the YHA for tomorrow and I saw a no vacancy sign as I approached which did not look good. I explained that my booking waa for tomorrow and the guy told me he just had one bed become available 10 minutes ago which I could have. If I hadn't stopped for lunch I would have been spending my rest day in a tent.
I went through my normal priorities of shower, laundry and more food. The 4 Square is well stocked so I got everything I wanted.
I found some books at the backpackers and read while munching on fruit and chips. By the time I should have been ready for dinner my stomach was not happy and I noisily occupied a toilet stall for a while. I put this down to the reheated chicken and cheese pastry or smoothy I had for lunch.
I finished the first book and was in bed by 2215.