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Gerard’s blog Ship cove to St Arnaud

Ship’s Cove in the Queen Charlotte to Pelorus Bridge

Well walking the Queen Charlotte track again was not difficult, Jenny had selected 3 lodges to stay in during the walk, so all I had to do was get myself to each place at the end of the day, have a shower then go across to the bar and order a beer (or two) to quench the thirst, then dinner, then start the process following day, not a bad life.

Through this section we will tick off our first 500kms of walking. Along the way we ran into Janet who is Bill Babe’s sister. So for a couple of afternoon’s we joined them for afternoon drinks, a very sociable time.

Also ended up having dinner on the last night with 3 ladies from Wairoa, who knew our late uncle Paul from Frasertown pub, what a small world we live in.

To cap things off had dinner and a drink in Davies old haunt the Queen Charlotte Tavern. Finished this week walking through Havelock and then into Pelorus Bridge camping ground. Rest up I was thinking because the real work starts tomorrow.

This section took 6 days and covered 109kms.

Pelorus Bridge to St Arnaud thru the Richmond Ranges.

The DOC camp at Pelorus Bridge was a really nice camping area. We also met 2 other TA walkers which we would again cross paths with.

To be really honest I had NO IDEA of what I was about to walk into. As I have said before we have very limited experience of multi day hiking and this section was going to test us. Knowing the weather would turn midway through this section we wanted to get a good start on the first leg which included 14kms of road walking so we were lucky enough to hitch a ride for a good portion of that which meant we got to Rock hut that night. However through that afternoon I hit the wall. Maybe you might remember when you took your kids to the supermarket and they didn’t get their own way so they would throw a tantrum on the floor screaming and throwing their legs and arms around. Well that’s what I felt like doing on the track, I had had enough. Anyway I got my shit together took some harden the f.. k up pills and kept walking.

I got used to what we would call the false summits, when you think you are at the top of a hill only to get there and see that the trail points to the next peak and yes after that another. It can be never ending.

To break the boredom there was the tree roots, the mud, the rock summits and the fine examples of native trees like beech, rimu and totara. Through this section I had a lot of time to think. Some river crossing had swing bridges. These are narrow made of wire cable an wire netting and designed for only 1 person at a time. Although they won’t fail they move around a bit and I thought to myself shit Aunty Cinny wouldn’t be caught dead on this. Strangely I had a similar thought when leaping across a gap above a ravine. The things you do to just keep moving.

Days 3-4-5 involved a lot of climbing with a top height of 1731m above sea level.

This altitude allows for great views during perfect weather but can also be shitty and we experienced both sides.

We managed to spend a couple of nights with fellow TA’s Marley and Lisa. It was great to have company, chat and play cards. Hopefully we meet up again.

The huts we have stayed in are a mixture of older and less old. But they offer a dry bed, shelter, water and in most cases a fire. Something to look forward to after a hard day on the track.

Our Day 7 which ended at Hunters hut was challenging, first we strayed off our main track and then close to the hut was a couple of river crossing. I was fine with the straying that happened but like Jenny was shitting a little on the river crossing. It had been raining most of the day so the rivers were flowing well. We made it to the other side of the river but the waterflow on the last river was very strong and touch and go. All I could think at the end was ticked that one off.

It seems my mountain goat legs skinny as they are, are holding me in good stead for this section. My strength and flexibility have meant no injuries. A special shout-out to Pete and Lisa. Thanks for making the gym and pilates sessions enjoyable over the years because I feel this is now paying off in spades on this journey.

It was a great feeling to wake up at Red hill hut knowing we were heading back to civilisation that day. The sun was out we got some great views down the valley and apart from a few hills the track walking was a breeze.

We smashed the time needed to get to St Arnaud. Must have been the rewards at the end that spurred us along. First thing a meat pie then sort accomodation, shower, beer and wifi.

Ah the old good life.

This very very tough section took 9 days an covered 140kms

Cheers for now. Gee



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