Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

We've just walked over 100km in three days, hit our 3 month anniversary of the start of the hike and our 2000km mark, so we're moving along.

We left Arthurs Pass and headed back to the trails. We walked up over Lagoon Saddle and down the Harper River. It was a cool trail, really well maintained and we were walking through beech forests and along the river banks. There were some quirky huts along the way too. We had lunch on our first day at the Lagoon Saddle Hut which is a cute little A frame with only 2 beds, the pink paint job was a bit of a novelty too. We then passed by the West Harper Hut which was built in 1957 and is maintained as a historic hut, complete with dirt floor, bunks made out of raw tree trunks and canvas and an old fireplace. Its cool to see some of the different kinds of huts around and hear a bit about their history.

We had a lot of road walking this section. Its tricky getting a route south from here that doesn't have any roads without heading up over the Main Divide and having to deal with glaciers and proper mountaineering gear. It was stunning scenery though. We passed by Lake Coleridge then paralleled the Mount Hutt Range on our way to Methven. There were cool dramatic mountain ranges which were all above the tree line, wide river valleys and lots of lakes.

This was also the section of bizarre coincidences. Yesterday we decided to have lunch at some picnic tables near the Rakaia River Gorge. I was wandering over to look at the turquoise coloured river when who should I bump into but my friend Grant, who I knew from university, and his girlfriend Patsy. I'd known they were down here but its kind of hard to meet up when we're constantly moving around and not by towns most of the time. What are the chances that we both decided to have lunch at the same picnic area in all of the South Island?

It didn't end there either. We hitched a ride into Methven with Dane, who offered to have us to stay for the night. He lived in a big house with his girlfriend and another English guy, Ian. Who did his girlfriend turn out to be? Christina, who we had met when we were living in Chamonix, France. Very weird. But they are generously letting us stay at their place while they've returned to Auckland for Christmas. Its much nicer than a campground, especially seeing as everything is going to be closed tomorrow. We can cook our own Christmas dinner! Thanks guys, we really appreciate it.

Merry Christmas and we'll be back in Lake Tekapo.


Lagoon Saddle Hut
Harper River
Us at the 2000km mark
Flax and mountains
The Rakaia River and Hutt Range