It was windy again last night and there was a loud snorer so I didn't have a great night sleep. I was first up and the weather looked ok in the direction I was going but not good the opposite way.
Unfortunately by the time I was away at 0800. the weather had packed in and it was cold and raining. Luckily there was only a km in the open before I dropped into the bush where it was more sheltered. It was still cold and wet though and my hands went numb. There was just enough feeling left in them to grip my poles. At one stage I got something in my shoe but when I tried to touch the laces I realised that was not going to happen. To compound the discomfort 'Young Guns' was back.
The track was following the river down and spent a lot of time climbing, sidling and dropping over and over. Some of the sidles were scary enough for the pucker factor to engage. Imagine you are 50 meters above a rocky river looking down at a slope that is nearly vertical following a track that is barely wider than your foot and only slightly less steep than the slope on a slippery clay surface in the rain. Now walk across the slope and smile.
There were some crossings of the river which was now discoloured from the rain runoff but still not flowing too fast yet.
I struggled to open my muslea bars with my numb hands but knew I needed to eat regularly to keep warm. At least I was still dry as my rain jacket was doing it's job.
I didn't stop except to quickly stuff food in because I knew I would get too cold. I had just decided that I would stop at the next hut for a hot cooked lunch and possibly stay there and hope for better weather tomorrow when the rain stopped at 1100. One hour later I was seeing blue sky. Crazy.
At the junction the track started climbing and kept climbing steeply over 400 meters vertically. It was slippery going up. That was a good way to warm up again. I broke out of the bushline and then sidled for a bit before entering a patch of bush and sidling to Stodys Hut which is an old musterers hut in original condition except for modern mattresses. I was surprised it only took 5 hours 10 minutes to get here as I was expecting it to be 6 hours given how slowly I was moving with it being so slippery. I had a big lunch there before continuing.
Despite the blue sky it was still cold made worse by a freezing and really strong wind. I kept my jacket on with the hood up and it did well in blocking the wind. The wind was coming fron my right side and very slightly behind. I was able to angle my pack to pick up the wind and be driven forward so I was flying along though when the wind occasionally weakened I nearly fell over as I was having to brace so strongly. The track was on farm tracks firstly climbing up to the ridge, then along the ridge and then steeply up Breast Hill where the views over Lake Hawea and the mountains were amazing. I took some photos and was freezing by the time I finished. It took a while setting up my monopod as my hands were numb again.
I took off down the fenceline down the hill beside the bluffs at speed to try to warm up and quickly reached the hut. It took 3 hours which includes at least 20 minutes photo shoot.
Jory who I last saw in Arthurs Pass was in the hut. I had a big dinner and read. It was still freezing outside but the hut was nice and warm.