Day 27: Camp Stream Hut to Royal Hut

Today is the day. The day I hit the highest point on the trail, Stag Saddle. Several southbounders have told me about “the ridge” and to take it. So I did. It was pretty great. The climb was long and occasionally a little steep, but the trail was nice and easy to follow. And the views just kept getting better and better.

Finally I reached the saddle and took the obligatory selfie.

And a shot of what I’d just climbed up.

The wind on the climb was fierce. It was mostly a crosswind but was continually pushing me to the side so the going was slow and rather irritating. I didn’t stop much other than to catch my breath.

The descent took a lot longer than I was expecting. So many times I lost the trail, which is definitely my MO in tussock sections but also frustrating when compounded by sparse trail markers. I did finally make it, and rather than push on to Stone Hut as was my original plan, I decided to call it a day. It wasn’t an early day though. I got into camp at about 3pm, when I was expecting not much later than 1. Oh well. The hut is nice and a shorter day is always welcome.

I think I have figured out what I want to do for getting around the upcoming river. There’s a shuttle that runs from the trailhead to Geraldine and some folks at the hut spoke very highly of it. I’m going to try to get an email to them in the morning to see about a reservation. If all else fails I’ll try to hitch out from the carpark at the trailhead but I’m not super optimistic about that. The trail notes say there’s a toilet but no camping allowed. I wonder who would complain though and maybe they’d be willing to give me a ride somewhere? We’ll see.

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