Takitimu Forest Day One
Days Remaining: 9
Remaining Distance: 203km
Distance Covered: 3098km
Total Traverse Hiking Days: 139
From the corner of Princhester Rd and State Highway 94, I set off for the Takitimu section. The 63km would take 3 days to cover and whilst I was looking forward to it I was dreading how cold I was going to get. Fresh dumpings of thick snow had fallen over the last 2 days. I had all my warmest clothes on this day from start to finish (except for my hiking pants which soon became saturated).
After a quick road walk I reached Lower Princhester Hut where I signed in as usual before the uphill trail began. A few minutes later I had reached the snow line and was hiking through snow fall which was the 3rd time I’d experienced this on my traverse. The snow was still a novelty which wore off pretty quickly due to my fleece gloves becoming wet as the snow melted on them.
My trusty “Cloud Kilt” (also known as a “Rain Skirt”), which had done a fairly good job along the way of keeping my pants and boots dry, was no match for the snow. Every plant that I walked by had more snow which brushed up against my legs above gaiter height. An hour and a half into the full days walk, my boots were filled with melted snow. If I had rain pants on then my boots would have been dry for much longer.
I was looking forward to passing over the saddle and heading down to Waterloo Valley where there would be less snow. When I arrived I met the much expected tussock grass which made the going slow. The markers were occasionally hard to find and reaching for my maps and trail notes with numb fingers was a job in itself. I only did this a few times before deciding that it would be easier (and longer) to just search for markers by walking in circles. The snow had covered parts of the orange markers and some marker poles were not tall enough to compete with the height of the tussock grass which rendered them useless. Occasionally I’d stumble into them by chance, though overall the markers did a good job of pointing the way.
I reached Aparima Hut later that afternoon. From Aparima hut I walked a further four kilometers to meet up with my family on Dunrobin Road, a very small price to pay for a night spent with the family off the trail. The following morning I hiked back to Aparima Hut where I met up with the trail again.