Day 40: Waiau hut to Blue Lake hut

What a day.

I’ve been anticipating this day for literally months. Worrying that it would be too hard for me to do, the weather too bad for me to even attempt. The trail notes make mention of crampons and ice axes and that made me super concerned.

The first part of the day for me was to walk from the hut up to the “informal campsite” up a ways. But on the way there the trail goes past the old Caroline Bivvy which is a tiny tiny tiny little shelter that’s very old and is to be removed because of the new Waiau hut where I stayed last night. I stopped in to say hi and sign the hut book. Last night I’d considered continuing on past Waiau hut since I’d gotten there so early and Caroline bivvy was one of the places I had been considering. I’m glad I didn’t. It’s tiny. It’s kinda gross. And there’s no toilet. But it is historic!

Afterward I continued on to the campsite. The trail was decent until it wasn’t and then I got to the campsite. It’s little more than a clearing along the trail where someone made a makeshift fire pit, but it would have been a pretty good place to camp in a pinch. I stopped here and had a rest, unloaded some extra weight I was carrying and started the climb.

Finally, I arrived.

Absolutely stunning. The weather could not have been more perfect. Cool. Clear. Dry. And surprisingly only a very light breeze at the top. I climbed up to a little peak right next to the top of the pass and just hung out there for a while, taking in the scenery, and what I’d just done.

Sadly the descent was awful. And so was the route from Lake Constance to blue lake hut. But I’ll leave out the details of that.

Blue lake is cool. The clearest water on the planet it is claimed. I haven’t gone over to the lake yet but from above I could definitely see pretty deep into it. Pretty awesome.

I’m at the hut now and it’s full of people. Many not TA hikers. Since the latter portion of the day put me in a bit of a crappy mood I’m hiding in my bed trying not to be grumpy.

And trying to think about the amazing accomplishment today was. Months I’ve been anxiously anticipating climbing this pass. And I climbed it like I was out for an afternoon stroll. And the reward at the top was so good. So good. Wow, what an amazing feeling.

I remember when Keaton said to me that he was proud of me way back when we were in Queenstown. And I’m proud of me too. I looked at my notes yesterday for the pass and one of the things it said was “if you’re reading this from the top of the pass give yourself a high five”. I almost backed out this morning, not gonna lie. Looking up at what I needed to climb from just past the campsite I felt pretty intimidated. But I pushed on and did it and I’m so glad I did!

The weather forecast I got yesterday morning said there could be snow above 1000m. I met the hut warden at the top of the pass and he said that wasn’t the case. The weather for the next several days is supposed to be great.

Tomorrow I am set to cross Travers Saddle, which is a nearly as difficult climb and descent as today. There’s a hut along the way about 3 hours from here where I might stay or might decide to get into St Arnaud using a different route. I’m fairly certain I’ll be leaving this hut, not that it’s bad but just because even on a rest day I can do some distance and the distance to the next hut is pretty trivial.

Proud of myself. Today was huge for me. I think I’ll sleep well tonight.

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