Te Araroa Trail – Day 102

Saturday February 17, 2024
Distance/ Total: 13.9 km / 8.6 mi

The Arthur’s Pass cafe doesn’t open until 8:30am so there was no reason to get up early this morning. Erik, Isabel, Jess and I had made plans to get a pancake breakfast there before doing a slack pack section from the Morrison Bridge to Hwy 73 – 23.6km.

We ate our breakfast then headed out to the Hwy to hitch back to the bridge. We got a hitch pretty quick from a guy pulling a boat and he took all 4 of us down to the bridge. By the time we started on the trail it was already 11:30.

The first part of the trail went pretty fast through the bottomland along the Otira River. The trail reached the confluence with the Deception River and we began heading upstream. The trail crossed the river twice pretty quickly up the river and the the flow was pretty strong. It came up to mid thigh in me and it was a challenge getting across.

The trail followed the Deception River along the shoreline, walking across rocks, climbing boulders, and turning up into the trees on occasion to fight mud and tree roots. The going was slow and we pushed on up the valley.

The trail crossed the river occasionally and seemed to get easier as we continued upstream. We reached the the upper deception hut about 5:00pm with 12 km left to complete for the day.

The 2km to Goat Pass hut continued to be difficult and actually upped the game by taking the trail straight up the stream for the last 500 meters. This was the part I had been waiting for. It was a blast walking up the stream wading through the pools of water and climbing boulders as we continued up the mountain.

We reached the Goat Pass Hut at 6:30pm and decided to stop for the night. There was no way we would make it back to the highway before dark and we only had 1 headlamp between the 4 of us. I didn’t bring any food for dinner. I still had a few snacks left and ate some of those for my dinner. Isabell didn’t bring a sleeping bag so her and Jess shared one and neither of them brought dry socks to warm their feet which were near frozen from walking in the cold water.

We all learned a lesson about slack packing and I’m sure we’ll be better prepared next time.

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