Te Araroa Trail – Day 101

Friday February 16, 2024
Distance/ Total: 13.5 km / 8.4 mi

Isabell, Jess, Erik, & I made plans last night to hike out to the Morrison footbridge together today. It is 13.5 km by trail and follows the Taramakau River and the Otira Rivers. With the rain yesterday we were concerned that the rivers would be higher than normal and could be a challenge to cross.

We left the hut about 8:00am and headed down the river. The notes about the river were confusing and contradictory on weather to stay on the right or left side of the river. We opted to stay in the right since we were already there. The trail walked through the riverbed, through meadows, and eventually through fields of Gorse – a thistle like plant that seems to grow very well in the lowlands along the river.

The Tamarakau River is a braided river (splits into several smaller river sun wide river beds) and when we reached a place we had to cross it was actually 3 river crossings. The water was flowing fast but in each case only came up to mid thigh on me. It was a slow struggle to cross, but not too bad. We all crossed without incident.

Once on the left side we were able to follow the river downstream until it joined the Otira. We then began following the Otira River upstream toward the Morrison Bridge.

This was also a braided river and was flown my much faster and deeper than the Tamarakau.

The river pushed so close to the left bank that we were forced up onto the hillside and the dreaded “flood route”. This route was a constant roller-coaster of ups and downs on the steep, rooted, and now muddy hillside. The going was painfully slow.

We finally reached the Morrison footbridge about 3:00pm and crossed the river to the highway. We split up for the hitchhike into town so it was only 2 people hitching at a time. Jess & I went first and got a ride in about 15 minutes. We got dropped off in the middle of the small town of Arthur’s Pass not knowing exactly where the hut we had booked bunks in was located.

We walked up and down the street trying to use our GPS to locate the hut, but finally had to go to the Department of Conservation (DOC) office and ask them where it was.

Since the very, very small general store/ cafe closed at 4:30 we decided to eat something and pick up our grocery resupply before heading to the hut.

After eating we went to find our hut for the night. It was well hidden on an unmarked trail and up some steep steps to reach it. When we arrived there were several other hikers ( many that we knew) there as well. It was a big hut with about 30 bunks, a full kitchen, and bathroom with showers. Everything hikers needed expect laundry facilities.

I showered, repackaged my food resupply, and even went back into town to get some more food at the Parrot Cafe which was open until 8:00pm.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *