south Kahurangi National Park blog | February 2016
After 38 days wandering around the northern section of Kahurangi National Park I zipped back to Nelson for a refresh, just missing another 180 mm dump of rain.
A couple of weeks later, a few domestic things sorted, body fully rested, I headed back to have a look at the southern section of the park.
The north bit had some surprises: the Dragons Teeth, that bash up to the Ministry of Works Hut, and then the granite knobby type area of the Mackay Downs.
I had planned a circuitous route from the start of the Wangapeka Track south to Murchison to begin, then on to the newly completed Old Ghost Road.
This is what eventuated . . .
Doesn’t take long to get back into the swing of tramping.
I spent two hours in one spot contemplating, umm, just contemplating.
It was great just mooching about, enjoying the forest in the vicinity, the extensive hut literature and the pleasure of an afternoon nap.
It’s cloudy morning but warm. At 6 30 it’s barely light, but just to practice I get up and pack up.
I chatted to the two trampers and heard a couple of almost believable stories, secondhand, about a hunter, A, hearing a moa scream at close quarters, and, B, getting swooped by a Haast eagle in the early 1950s. Seriously.
The wide grassy stretches I can deal with, the steep rocky not so much.
As usual with me these days The Destination is not so important, it’s appreciation, making the most of this opportunity of the coincidence of outstanding location, perfect weather, and magnificent views.
Another one of those all-day-to-get-5.5-hours-of-walking kinda days.
Today I made a pledge to stay on the tracks for the rest of the summer.
I’m not so keen, my limbs are tired after all the recent walking, particularly yesterday but I think to myself, if I ever come back here, not too likely, the weather couldn’t be so good, better make the most of it.
On Day 11 of this trip I’m looking forward to some fresh food and pizza in Murchison tomorrow.
I was thinking an early start would be an idea, but there’s thoughts, and then there’s actions.
It’s an entirely different experience to my previous couple of weeks, but I don’t mind, its kinda nice just to be able to stride along without having to think about foot placement, or overgrown track, or steepness.
All this company is a bit different from last week. I’m catching up on socialisation big-time.
I like the Goat Creek Hut, more my style than the newly built ones. It might not have the full amenity of last night, like flyscreens with mesh the sandflies can crawl through, but being built in 1957, and renovated in 2013, it has character in buckets, and you can sweep the floor straight out the door.
The day’s two highlights: a giant powelliphanta carnivorous snail, alive, stalking its prey at a very slow rate; and, a huge spring, that popped out of a hole in the ground and turned into a major flowing stream.
It’s not the biggest day, just 3 km around to Specimen Hut, generally on the level. I can cope with that, I’m needing a couple of days of easy walking.
My Lawrence of Arabia cap keeps the rain off my glasses, the track is mostly level, my pack is about as light as it ever seems to be, and that mighty river is roaring, swirling, churning its way to the coast down below.