Te Araroa Trail – Day 104

Monday February 19, 2024
Distance/ Total: 25.2 km / 15.7 mi

Shaun, Isabell, Jess & I headed to the cafe’ this morning at 8:30. I was wanting some more of their delicious pancakes.

We ate and finally headed out to the trail about 10:00am. Arthur’s Pass was 5km from where we got off trail and we planned to hitch back to the trail. Shaun & I started walking the distance thinking that if we didn’t get a ride we would be there in a little over an hour. Isabell & Jess decided to stay by the Visitors Center and hitch from there.

Shaun and I ended up walking about 40 minutes before getting picked up for the last 2.3 km. The guy who picked us up was pretty excited to hear about our trip and offered us some raw venison. Unfortunately neither of us had a way to prepare the meat and had to decline the offer.

We started back on the trail about 10:45. It followed a gravel service road for the railroad company for awhile then dropped down into the Otira Riverbed. After fording the Greyneys Creek the trail led up into the trees and followed alongside the river above the riverbed.

Soon the trail led past an old campsite and began across the open bottomland. The trail here disappeared and we struggled across the bottom finally finding the trail just before it crossed Waimakariri River. We forded the river and joined Highway 73.

We walked down the highway about 3 km and turned off onto the trail leading up to Bealey Hut. We stopped at the hut for a few minutes then began our climb up to Lagoon Saddle. It was a long gradual climb to the treeline then exited onto an alpine marsh where we attempted to get through without getting too muddy.

Once we reached the saddle we started descending toward the Harper River. It was a gradual descent as well with just a few steep sections.

We were planning to stop at West Harper Hut, but after seeing how dilapidated it was decided we could push on 4 km more and stop at Hamilton Hut. We made good time and arrived at the hut at 7:30pm. I decided to setup up my tent for the night and crawled inside to cook my dinner and get ready for bed.

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