Arthur’s Pass rain delay

Sigh. More delays due to rain. This time not because the storm was all that huge, though it did cause some problems. What it did for me was raise the levels of rivers I’d need to interact with to leave here to levels unsafe to cross. So, aside from leaving by road or train, I’m pretty much stuck here for a bit.

My original plan was 5 days from Methven. The first 3 days would get me to within range of Arthur’s Pass, and the next 2 days would take me up and over Goat Pass and down the Deception River, past Arthur’s Pass, and back to the highway on the other side. Arthur’s Pass is basically at the end of day 3 of a 10 day stretch, but you can get back to the road on the other side making it 2 5 day stretches. This would make it easier to resupply as my food box would have time to arrive, and would only have to have 5 days worth of food in it.

But rain came in really hard yesterday and put a stop to that. I had one option yesterday which would have been to skip the Goat Pass section and proceed up the river, hopefully getting to Locke Stream Hut before the river came up too much, after which I’d be fine. But it was starting to get later in the day when I had to make my decision and I still needed to unpack my food drop and get it into my pack. The forecast didn’t look promising to be able to deal with the rivers very soon, so I was kinda stuck. I dropped into the YHA and got a bed for the night, where I met another northbounder who was having the same dilemma.

This morning, I went to DOC and talked about river levels and weather, and it’s looking like by this afternoon I should be able to cross the rivers and get up to Goat Pass, but I’d prefer to wait a little longer for the river to drop more, especially since it rained a bit more this morning.

It’s supposed to rain a bit on Thursday and rain really hard on Friday, so if I leave tomorrow (Tuesday) I can get up to Goat Pass, down the Deception River Wednesday, (or, if that turns out to be a bad idea, back down the way I came up), and up the Taramakau river to Locke Stream Hut Thursday before the big rain hits on Friday. I’ll have some extra food with me in case I need to camp out at Locke Stream for a day or 2, but the river past there is much more manageable so even with heavy rain I should be able to get up and over Harper Pass without too much difficulty. That’s the plan anyways. Right now the rain has stopped and the sun is out but of course the rivers are still up or I’d hit the trail today.

One downside is there is very little to do in Arthur’s Pass village. There’s a cafe. And another one across the street. And that’s about it. But the WiFi at the hostel is fantastic, so rainy movie day it is!

One cool thing is the surrounding area is really beautiful. There’s a big waterfall about 5 minutes walk from the center of town. There are numerous waterfalls up on the mountains around, you can hear them, it’s cool. And there are Kea, which are an endangered species of Parrot and are rather large birds. They’re cheeky birds in wilder areas, here they mostly just beg for food from people who don’t heed the signs everywhere saying not to feed them. They have a distinctive call and are quite pretty and relatively approachable, so I’ll spend a little time trying to get some good photos of them.

Meanwhile here’s some of the area.

Ok, got a good one of some hanging out at the cafe.

Lots of people around taking photos. You can tell they know exactly what they’re doing.

Update: talked to DOC again and it looks like the weather won’t work out to do both, so sadly I’m skipping the Goat Pass section and heading straight to the Taramakau river tomorrow. If I can safely get across, it should be fine the rest of the way up, and past Locke Stream hut and up over the pass and beyond isn’t vulnerable to weather issues. Sad, but at least I’ll be leaving here tomorrow!

For now while the weather is nice I’m going to head up to Punchbowl Falls which is another waterfall real close to town here!

And here it is!

Now back to the hostel to read, watch some movies, and take a shower.

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