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Pelorus Bridge to Captain Creek Hut

Months ago, amongst arduous tasks on my traverse preparation list, I took some time out and did some extensive research on the tracks that now lay ahead of me. So with much anticipation, I left Pelorus Bridge early and set off on a country road hike to a world which I will never forget. Eventually the road lead me to the start of the Pelorus River Track. At the start of the track, while crossing the first bridge, I immediately felt better about the area and what lay ahead of me and my spirits had lifted. With the weather in mind it was looking like a ten-day hike through to St Arnaud.


As I weaved my way through the countryside I recalled some of the material I had found through websites and books I had read. While doing so, minutes would pass at a time before I’d realise how far I had hiked. Occasionally I looked back making sure I hadn’t missed anything. I put this down to entering my comfort zone. For myself, I can only reach this place when I’m truly prepared. I had enough food to last me a comfortable fifteen days. Right from the start, when I decided on traversing NZ, this is what I had set out for. The South Island’s wilderness had arrived.

I liked the look of my surroundings and I know that I’m not one to ever take them for granted. The water of the Pelorus River was crystal clear with a subtle green tinge to it. In some places the water was spot on emerald-green. Perhaps this is why the pools of emerald-green water were given quite the unusual name of – “The Emerald Pools”! Take as long as you need to figure that one out. I guess it goes to show that no matter where you are in the world, you can always count on an original name coming to the fore which really hits that nail square on the head, provided it’s in good old english of course.

There were swing bridges to cross which I always enjoy. I Love a good swing on bridge. At least in New Zealand one has a fairly good chance of not having a bridge threaten to fold underneath once at the point of no return, unlike some others I’ve crossed in third world locations. I’m not sure why but every time I cross a dodgy looking bridge a particular song is automatically brought to mind. “Should I Stay or should I Go Now” by The Clash!    . . . Every time!

I was looking forward to reaching Captain Creek Hut. I’ve done quite a bit of research on the huts I’ll be visiting on the Te Araroa Trail so I tend to look forward to them because of that. As I closed in on Captains Hut I came across two enchanted forests. I couldn’t resist capturing each of them. I don’t think one is really permitted to merely roam through such beauty and just keep hiking without retrieving ones camera out of ones backpack. I’m sure you’re meant to at least take one photo as a small show of appreciation towards all living things. The two forests were just minutes apart from each other yet distinctly different – one enchanted, the other prehistoric.

Each of the forest photos are made up of two individual photos as my camera doesn’t have a wide enough lense to capture the entire width of what was there. Hopefully the result will look a little wider than a normal photo and will have just as much clarity.

When I finally got to the turn off to the hut I still felt like hiking on but the next hut was too far to reach before nightfall so Captains it was. The turn off sign said 5 mins to the hut but I could see the hut right there about 20 seconds away. So not quite sure what that was all about? I’m sure for some people, a situation like that could have them confused for at least five minutes.

Since there was no water tank at the hut I went down to the river to collect water and sterilize it. I really enjoyed being down at the river minus the annoying sand flies. After dinner I went down to the shallow parts of the river for a swim. Sandflies don’t like wet skin so I just enjoyed time in the river before heading back to the hut to catch up on some of the blog. This involves old-fashioned pen and paper which I type out at a later date and email to Gordon who then pieces the post together. A few weeks later when I arrive into a town to check emails and the blog, it’s all done. Now that’s a great way to hike through a foreign land.

Believe it or not, I had a fantastic roast chicken (Back Country) dinner followed by some fresh fruits of the forest. A perfect way to end off a great day.

14 Comments Post a comment
  1. Those pictures are amazing, Ken! Hope you enjoyed your well-earned swim too. I imagine the crystal clear emerald water might have been a tad chilly?!

    Tuesday 27 March, 2012
    • Fi, glad you like. When it’s clear you just know it’s gonna make you hurt! But the healing properties of crystal clear emerald water are truly immense. It’s just as good as the hikers wool I’m using.

      Saturday 31 March, 2012
  2. Love the “Emerald Pool” Ken! I hope you left some of that clear water for the rest of us! The first forest photo is my favourite out of all your forest photos. Nice one!

    I’ll see you soon brother. Keep hiking!

    Wednesday 28 March, 2012
    • Yes Gordo, I left just enough emerald water for you and a few others. I will see you soon in “Our Town” – Queenstown. Mavora Lakes here we come!

      Saturday 31 March, 2012
  3. Pammy #

    You really have enriched our lives, Kenyon, not to mention your own. Thanks so much for sharing your Traverse experiences with us.

    Thanks to you too, Gordo, for all your efforts in the background making the blog available to all of us to share Ken’s dream as it unfolds!

    Wednesday 28 March, 2012
    • Hi Pammy, it’s nice to be able to finally return the favour. Without you and dad I wouldn’t be here enjoying what I’m so passionate about. The hiking trails here are second to none and having Gordon’s support and efforts thrown my way has really made this trip extraordinary! I’m surely the luckiest guy in the world! I miss you all and it’s great to know that we’ll be meeting up soon! More fun times ahead! x x

      Saturday 31 March, 2012
  4. Tina #

    Amazing photo’s Kenyon and thanks too for sharing your incredible experience, look forward to us all catching up. Tina

    Wednesday 28 March, 2012
    • Hi Tina. You’re welcome. Yes, it will be great to catch up with everyone. I can’t believe it was more than a year ago since the Glenmore gathering! Time goes by way too quickly. Chat soon! Bye, Kenyon

      Saturday 31 March, 2012
  5. Jill #

    Kenyon, I read all your blogs with great interest and enjoyment even if I rarely leave a comment. In the photo of you writing up your log, you look like an intrepid explorer in his hut at the Antarctic. Your photographs are very beautiful and I keep going back to look at the forest photos in this blog entry.

    Wednesday 28 March, 2012
    • Hi Jill! Thanks for your lovely comment. I often think back to some of the places I’ve been to on this trail and more often than not it’s the forests that I think of. There have been so many beautiful places along the way and I haven’t been able to take photos of them all. My reply comes quite late because internet on the South Island is a rare occurrence.

      I now have a much warmer jacket which Gordon posted to me as the nights now are often below freezing. I sometimes feel like I am back in Antarctica! A few days ago I was snowed on quite heavily as I was heading for Lake Tekapo Village where the warmer jacket awaited me. So I may as well be in the Antarctic as you’ve mentioned.

      Hope you are well Jill. Bye for now. Kenyon

      Friday 30 March, 2012
  6. Would the Pelorus Campground be one of the loveliest you have camped at? Don’t know how many times we have stopped here. It is the halfway break point for the Musselman Adventure Race form Picton To Nelson (Gordon has done it several times), the start for the Maungatapu Mountainbike Race – up the Mauagatapu Road and over the saddle and down to Nelson (and he’s done that several times as well).
    I love to stop here on the way home from a business trip to Blenheim and run the track up beside the river to the waterfalls and back, then grab a Flat White at the Cafe to get me over the hills back to Nelson.
    Truly a beautiful peaceful spot

    Thursday 29 March, 2012
    • Yes, the Pelorus Campground is, without a doubt, the nicest one I’ve camped at on this trail. The cafe there was a complete surprise and the facilities were mostly new too. You are very fortunate to visit that area whilst travelling to and from meetings. You have so many adventure activities and races right on your doorstep. I am still battling the thought of going back to Sydney after this trip.

      Saturday 31 March, 2012
      • Hi Kenyon, I hadn’t realised my previous blog had used an old blog name of Hannah’s. May not get to catch up with you or your progress for a while now. We are off to Golden Bay tomorrow camping for Easter and then down to Hanmer on Friday 13th to start the Harper Pass section the following day. Won’t be back in Nelson until the 22nd. You should be getting close to Bluff by then. Take care. Sharon

        Thursday 5 April, 2012
      • Hi Sharon, I’m sorry that this reply is so late but at the time I was nowhere near internet service.

        Camping at Golden Bay would have been a great way to spend the Easter break and I hope it all went well for you. I envy you having such places right on your doorstep. It quite different being on trail for an extended amount of time and being unaware of dates such as Easter. Only when I’ve reached a town do I realise that the occasion has come and gone. I’ll make up for it by eating twice as much chocolate next Easter.

        Monday 14 May, 2012

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