Day 8: Telford Camp Site to Lower Wairaki Hut

This section I’m walking is generally done in 3-4 days. I had originally been planning it as 3 days, but last night I didn’t sleep well again. First off: my tent isn’t freestanding. I love it, it’s light, it’s fairly roomy (and I’m sure much roomier when set up correctly), and it has a funny name: the trash bag. But I can’t for the life of me seem to get the thing pitched properly ever. Which usually results in everything being super saggy and taking away a lot of my interior space. Combine this with the fact that it’s a single wall tent, and now you’re talking about condensation. The inside of the roof of the tent is almost always wet. It’s not that big of a deal, don’t touch it, and air it out before you pack it up to let it dry. If it has rained, it doesn’t matter because the outside is wet too. But combine that with the severely reduced interior volume and he fact that I’d camped on a slope, it was really hard to keep my down quilt from touching the roof, meaning it started getting wet. This was actually fine, I didn’t need the full thermal power of my quilt, but it did mean that I was super conscious of my positioning and such inside the tent to try to avoid making it worse and ended up doing some uncomfortable things to try to stay put, none of which ended up working anyhow.

Fortunately, that was all moot. The wind picked up. A LOT. Now my tent’s loose, flappy body was doing just that. Flapping all over the place. Ever hear a flag blowing on a windy day? Imagine being inside that flag and trying to sleep. Yeah. That was me. Eventually I tried some things. I pushed up against the tent to see what needed more tension to try to calm some of the flapping. Turns out that my poles kept wanting to come inward toward each other, making the whole tent sag. So I carefully flicked one of the locks on my pole and pulled it inward at the base so it was as vertical as I could get it and pushed up until it was tight, then locked it again. I repeated this on the other side.

Voila!

Suddenly the mad flapping was a mere shadow of its former self. Now to deal with the loose end behind me. I reached out and pulled some more tension on the corners and between those 2 things not only was the tent no longer flapping but I felt like I’d moved from a half person bivvy to a 6 person glamping tent! So much room for activities!

Fortunately the wind had also had the effect of removing all of the condensation on the inside of my tent and doing a great job of fluffing and drying my quilt. Success.

By morning I’d gotten some of the flapping back but I suspect that my poles were just starting to push into the ground. Also, because they now weren’t the correct length for setting up with a tent, I actually didn’t have that much head room inside the tent, so packing up was interesting. All in all I’d be surprised if you said I got 4 hours of sleep, and very little of it worth much.

So, when I was presented with the option of making today a short day at the cost of adding an extra day to this section, I was all over it. The night before, someone had mentioned it but I didn’t think I had the food for it. You’ll remember I had just gone into Nightcaps to resupply but I was trying not to go overboard with food so I didn’t. Oops. But I thought about it some more and I’m pretty sure I can stretch my food and splitting up what is supposed to be a 10 hour day into a 4 hour and 6 hour day will be worth it. Long days are hard. Multiple long days back to back on little sleep even harder. My kingdom for a day where I roll into camp and am not just 145% done with everything.

So. I did. 4.5 hours later after going up, up, up, up, and “seriously, up there?”, then coming back down the other side, I’m at Lower Wairaki Hut. I washed some clothes. Sponge bathed. Filtered a bunch of water. Totally destroyed one of my shirts. Remember kids, polyester melts. Made some food. Had a nap. Had another nap. And it’s just 5:30 now! I seem to have the place to myself for the night, anyone coming southbound I would think would have been coming from Aparima Hut, tomorrow’s destination, about 6 hours away, so they’d already be here (in fact, I was afraid they would have beaten me here anyways) but nope, nobody yet! Nobody has even come past here unless they were super quiet about it and didn’t write in the logbook or something.

Anyways. Tomorrow’s another short day, though longer than this one. Getting in around noon feels kinda wasteful but I’m confident I’ll feel better after these 2 short days than if I’d tried to push all the way through in one day.

Oh, and pictures.

This place is still considered a “basic” hut by DOC. It’s a freaking mansion compared to Martin’s Hut. I can’t wait until I get to a serviced hut!

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