Kaikoura to Boyle Village blog | January 2017
Access to Kaikoura wasn’t straightforward before Christmas. I’d planned starting my summer’s walking there back in September, but on 14 November the Kaikoura Earthquake had my initial walk for the summer, starting just before Christmas, diverted elsewhere, ie, the West Coast.
After being well rinsed and washed out I hadn’t had much time on my return to Nelson in my own bed, just the four nights. I had a small building project to fill in the day, dehydrating some more dinners, that had been a success in my earlier trip, boots to get repaired, mow the lawn, and time for some summer socialisation. It was quite a packed schedule.
But I did get a call offering a ride to Kaikoura, maybe it could have been a day or two later, but I couldn’t avoid the good fortune. Take it when I could get it, no hitching required.
There’s a good reason to head to Marlborough. The weather is generally drier. I was sure hoping it would be better than it was over on the West Coast.
And there shouldn’t be too many days clambering over mossy rocks the size of cars, buses, houses.
This is how it went . . .
I made a big mistake, but no one was injured, or suffered particularly. Just climbed to 700 m on the wrong farm track.
After the Kaikoura Earthquake I will be assessing each night’s hut or campsite for rockfall potential, last night’s thud made me realise the consequence of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Easier today. Cracking out the last of the four-wheel-drive track.
Soon I came to major earthquake damage, deep furrows in the ground, the matagouri falling into the lake. I persisted for some reason and had about 500 m of serious bush bashing, well, if you consider the super prickly matagouri/sweet briar as “bush”.
I kept thinking that if horses and cattle could crack out the 1420 m saddle, I should be okay. But those farm animals are fit, and I’m still carrying almost two weeks’ food.
And here’s me paying $8 for the privilege of putting up my tent. If there was a hut I could stay for free.
I’m hoping the weather might continue in this glorious summerness.
Yesterday was full sun, and I acquired a narrow band of colour between the top of my gaiters and the bottom of my somewhat long shorts.
Today? Storm warning.
Later in the day, I spread out all over the Top Leatham Hut, a couple of hunters dropped in on their way out to their four-wheel-drive and Bottom Gordon Hut, carrying plenty of chamois meat in their packs, including the sad severed head on the outside.
I love these hills, maybe due to my Australian travels where hills are often also bereft of trees.
He became silent and surly, not at all convinced by me airing my own thoughts.
They, and I for that matter, were stonking wet and the floor soon turned into a shallow pool.
With that torrential rain which only stopped around 7 am it was clear that the Waiau River crossing option wasn’t a goer.
Ice on the tent. Condensation and rain had frozen. New snow on the hills.
Did I care? I had a river to wade.
Why not do a short cut directly over the Boyle River, and cut out an hour, or even more, to get to the highway asap? Indeed.