Day 22: Top Timaru Hut to Somewhere East of the Ahuriri River

Today’s goal was to get to Tin Hut, a private hut that has been made available for TA walkers to use. Then I had a stretch goal to get past there to a place in the reserve by the Avon Burn where I could camp for the night. The idea being that tomorrow I would continue down to the Ahuriri river, cross it, and get about half way to Lake Ohau and look for somewhere to camp.

It started off well. I slept in this morning. I took my time getting ready to go and was the last person to leave the hut area. I say leave the area as I really didn’t use the hut at all. In fact this morning was the first time I’d stepped inside it, I had only stood in the doorway last night. Anyway, signed the hut book and moved along.

Today had quite the big climb up the river and then up and over Martha’s Saddle. It was all 4×4 track so was easy footing but that didn’t make it any less steep.

Finally I made it to the top after what felt like ages. The sun had decided to come out so I put on some sunscreen and drank some water before beginning the long descent down to Tin Hut.

After what also felt like ages, but also sooner than expected, I rounded a corner and there was Tin Hut. I forgot to take a picture. It was fairly grimy inside as I’d heard people describe it, but aside from the nasty looking mattresses, I could have easily spent the night in there. There was a river right outside to get water from, the platforms for the beds looked fine for me to throw out my sleeping pad on, and the toilet, despite being ridiculously dirty, seemed usable. The problem was it was only 2pm. I could easily make my stretch goal. So, I plopped down, ate some lunch, chatted with a couple of southbounders who had stopped by, and went on my way.

In another moment of “already?” I rounded a corner and found myself looking at the reserve across the river where I wanted to set up camp. Sadly, I didn’t see any way to get over there and once over there anywhere to camp. Not wanting to turn back I simply pressed on. I had time. My next goal was to get just past the Ahuriri river and back into the reserve where I’d be able to camp anywhere.

So I continued on.

Finally I arrived.

I had to scale down into this valley, ford this river, and up the other side look for a campsite.

I made it! Sadly there was nowhere to camp directly by the river so I had to climb up out of the valley. Which meant no easy water source. So I lugged as much water as I could carry (literally, all of my bottles were full) up the hill and set up camp.

It was fairly breezy when I came up here but I feel like the wind has gotten much much worse. Despite my best efforts my tent isn’t holding its shape well in this wind, though it hasn’t come unstaked yet, so hopefully it will hold up through the night. Other than walking for another few hours I really don’t know what I can do about this wind. It’s loud. Tent flapping a lot. It’s going to be a very long night methinks.

Oh well. I still am planning to only go about half way to Lake Ohau tomorrow. The trail notes say 11 hours from the car park which is about 40 minutes behind me to the lake. I don’t feel like walking that long tomorrow, so I’ll look for a nice swimming hole and maybe a campsite nearby and take it easy. That is if I get any sleep tonight.

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