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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Rees-Dart Track

NEW ZEALAND | Thursday, 30 April 2009 | Views [8489]

            Conditions really deteriorated since last night when it wasn’t too cold and I could see the stars but this morning it was very cold and gloomy, like it was on the verge of rain. Anyways, I packed up my tent and all my other stuff and I still felt content on starting the Rees-Dart Track today. With my heavy pack I walked down the road, sipping a Red Bull that I bought last night. There wasn’t a lot of traffic with the exception of a few Dart River Safaris buses and other tour vehicles. However it wasn’t long before I got a lift by a couple from Quebec who was doing the Routeburn Track today. The Rees-Dart Track isn’t as frequently walked because it isn’t a Great Walk and is considered to be more difficult than the Routeburn. They dropped me off at the turnoff to the Rees-Dart while they continued on. A couple of trucks passed, and then the Rees-Dart shuttle bus passed by. The driver was probably thinking that I’m taking business away from them by hitchhiking but I’m a bit broke right now. My father won’t be able to send me any money because he won’t be working for a couple of weeks. Anyways, a vehicle turned around, driven by a couple of guys from the Czech Republic and they picked me up. Patrick was walking the Rees-Dart as well. For awhile I thought I was going to be all alone on the track. About 20 minutes later, we were at the beginning of the 67 km Rees-Dart Track. There are three major tramping tracks in the area (Routeburn, Greenstone-Caples, and Rees-Dart) and this one is said to be the most difficult. Patrick has walking poles and an extra pair of shoes; he’s well prepared. For this journey I equipped myself quite well also because I got a new tent, gas cooker, etc. The first part of the track was flat and was through a large paddock across the Rees Valley.

All around me were cattle and cattle shit. In the distance there were some pretty waterfalls. The young man at DOC told me there are heaps of streams to cross. For the first couple I took my boots and socks off but as I walked through a swamp my boots filled up. That meant I would be walking for five days in wet boots! This is my fifth tramping track, and it was only on the Kepler that I didn’t get my boots wet. Two hours into the walk we had to cross 25 Mile Creek, which is the widest and most difficult creek to cross according to the young man at DOC. Patrick crossed first and then I ran straight through it, making sure not to take a tumble because that would ruin my mobile phone and camera. The sandflies were annoying as we sat for a break under a bivouac rock where I snacked on Grain Waves. Shelter Rock Hut, the first hut, was still a few hours away. The mountains were impressive, but I was also really fascinated by the mycology on the track. There are some very colourful mushrooms and fungi. You could probably live on some of the fungi out here but it isn’t advised unless you have a well-detailed book in colour about the fungi.

Some fungi, especially toadstools, can kill people quickly. For now, I was just taking photos of red, orange, and yellow fungi. During the walk I took a number of falls. Tree roots are the worst because they become very slippery when wet. Today it was a mostly flat walk. Tomorrow it will be a shorter but much harder walk because I’ll be going over the Rees Saddle. The Inca Trail is much higher than anywhere on the Rees-Dart Track so there is no risk of altitude sickness. At about 5:30 we smelled the smoke and saw the hut.

Crossing a swing bridge, we were there! It felt good to get my wet boots off and sit by the fire. When I went outside to pitch my tent, the DOC ranger told me it’s ill-advised because the keas will tear up my tent. I told him I didn’t have a hut pass but he told me I could either give him cash or since it’s his last day he doesn’t care. Since I didn’t have any cash I decided to stay in the hut. There are six bunks in the main room of the hut but they were all taken so I decided I could bring a mattress into the room and sleep on the floor near the fire. After my long walk I was ready for a cuppa so I pulled out my new gas cooker, a tea bag, and some honey and boiled up some water. Ahhh it felt good! Staying in these huts really is a lot of fun. There is no electricity, hot water, or central heating but that adds to the experience! Colin’s house is essentially “a DOC hut with carpeting.” After drinking my cuppa I decided to cook up some tomato soup as I munched on Grain Waves. There are plenty of snacks in my bag, but I like to eat light early on my tramps just in case I may have to stay out in the wilderness for an extra day or so. When I was in the Copland Valley I almost had to do that because it was dumping rain! Tomato soup is so delicious, especially on a cold night. It turned out there are several other people staying at the hut. There is a couple from Cambridge (on the North Island), a girl named Antje from Germany, and a couple of guys both named Richard. The couple from Cambridge brought all kinds of food with them; lamb, eggs, and even pudding! One of these days I have to teach myself to bring a better range of food when I go tramping. Earlier I was thinking it would have been fun to spend at least one day on this journey where I don’t see another human being at all but it probably won’t happen. It’s good to be with others on the track as well because it’s rated as medium-hard. At about 10:00 I washed up and then pulled out my book on the Falkland Islands and lay by the fire, shovelling in coal every now and again to keep it going. Tomorrow is the second day of walking. See you soon!

            Day #2 on the Rees-Dart Track. The keas were making their calls and I was awoken by them before I was awoken by my alarm clock. It’s a good thing the DOC ranger warned me because when I went out into the extreme morning cold there were like 30 keas on the roof. Keas are the world’s only alpine parrot and they sure are cheeky and playful. These buggers are known to tear open the backs of sheep in addition to the rubber lining on vehicle windows. Anyways, I washed up and made a cuppa earl grey in my billy. Pete and Nikki, the couple from Cambridge, were cooking bacon and eggs for breakfast! They sure brought everything with them! With my mattress put away and all my stuff packed, I decided to make my way out at about 9:15 or so. The DOC ranger is going home today and he has to walk out; I’d think a helicopter would be sent in to pick him up. Being a DOC ranger would probably be tough for some people. Some of these guys stay in these huts for weeks with no electricity, no phone, no internet, or anything like that. It would be difficult for me in a way because I love to talk to my Teressa every day. When I get back into “civilization” I hope she answers my phone calls. Antje walked with me for a short while but before I knew it she was way ahead of me. My boots were still wet from last night but they were all wet again after walking through one of many streams on the way up to Rees Saddle. Even though it was very cold out, I didn’t feel too cold because I was moving the whole time; most of the time I was wearing a t-shirt. The higher up I went, my toes were starting to feel cold because of the water in my boots. As I was staring up at Rees Saddle, a little flurry of snow came down, but I was ready to tackle that saddle! Colin thinks I don’t know how to look after myself, and he probably thinks that I wouldn’t or couldn’t make it up to Cascade Saddle, but I’ll show him! The saddle was quite steep, but I made my way up bravely like I was climbing Mt. Everest and had mountains, snow, and waterfalls all around! It about noon I was up at 1447 metres above sea level at the Rees Saddle! A marker pole made the perfect place to get a self shot in front of the Rees Saddle sign. I don’t know why I brought a pink hat with me, but it’s better than no hat at all. The best defence against cold are a hat and socks; once I was told it’d be better to go outside without pants than socks and a hat. Fresh snow covered the mountains on the other side of the saddle. What’s the difference between a pass and a saddle? I’ll have to ask Mr. Hanley that one. Though it was higher in altitude, the Rees Saddle is not as difficult to scale as MacKinnon Pass. A roaring river and a wide valley were in front of me as I made my way toward Dart Hut. They call it “Dart Hut” but I forgot to bring a dartboard. Some parts of the walk were quite tough as I had my camera out. My battery was almost dead but I had more in my backpack. Some parts of the track are marked by cairns (stacked rocks) instead of poles. About 30 minutes before the hut, I got lost a little bit, and trying to make my way down an embankment I fell and in the process took some boulders down with me. Luckily none came from above me. Eventually I found my way back and I reached Dart Hut at about 2:00. There are no bunks in the main rook like at Shelter Rock Hut so we had to open one of the doors to get the heat from the fire in. The setting is absolutely magnificent! I just love it!

Of the five tramping tracks I’ve walked I must say I love this one the best! The Rees-Dart Track should definitely be a Great Walk. The camping area is about a five minute walk from the hut, but when I got ready to go pitch my tent Antje convinced me to stay in the hut because the DOC ranger went home for the winter. She said she wouldn’t tell anyone. Richard was worried that I didn’t have enough food because he saw that I didn’t eat breakfast but often don’t eat for breakfast; instead I just have a cuppa. I’ve always, in a way, been a light eater. During my high school days I used to get a super size pack of chicken nuggets and fries from Maccas but I eventually downgraded that. Right now I’m content with tomato soup and Cheds crackers, which is what I was ready to make after I made my afternoon cuppa. Since the fire was hot I cooked my soup on top of the fireplace so I didn’t have to use any cooking gas.

Pete and Nikki showed up about an hour or so after I did and they made their tasty dinner. Richard Morris is from Queenstown and is a guide for Richard Hammond, who is from London. Mr. Hammond is a travel writer for Rough Guides and Mr. Morris is his guide. Unfortunately they’re not going up to the Cascade Saddle even though we tried to tell them they should because it would be the highlight of the journey. The water inside the hut was shut off for winter, so we had to fill up a bucket from the rainwater tank outside and bring it in. The journey to the Cascade Saddle won’t be an easy one but it will be so worthwhile. It’s about an 8-10 hour return journey from Dart Hut so Patrick, Antje, and I will be staying here tomorrow night as well. Tomato soup tasted so good tonight! After tea, Richard (Hammond) and I played a really good game of chess on the chessboard that was in the hut. This is Dart Hut, and there is a chessboard but no dartboard. I ended up losing the game. While it was still light out I pulled out my book on the Falkland Islands. Richard (Morris) says it’s interesting to see me carrying around a book about the Falklands. A great walk I’ve been reading about is the 4-day Shackleton Walk across South Georgia. Sir Ernest Shackleton made that legendary journey during the beginning of the 20th century. However, I’m on South Island, not South Georgia. Out here I couldn’t ask for a better setting! At about 7:00 PM I made another cuppa and sat by the warm fire as I tried best I could to dry my soaked boots. One of these days I’m going to have to trash my boots because they’re wearing out. For now, they’ll last me on my journey up to the Dart Glacier and Cascade Saddle. At around 10:00 or so I decided to wash up and go lay down after a long day but tomorrow is an even longer day. I’ll tell you about the Cascade Saddle tomorrow evening!

            Day three was my biggest day of tramping yet on the Rees-Dart. This morning I woke up at about 7:00 AM when I heard Patrick and Antje getting their stuff out for brekkie. As a result, I jumped up and then washed up before boiling some water for my morning cuppa. The two Richards and the couple from Cambridge were getting ready to set out to Daley’s Flat Hut and Patrick, Antje, and I were set to tackle the Cascade Saddle! Since we were going to be back here tonight I didn’t have to pack my tent, sleeping bag, and all that other stuff but I did decided to take along my gas cooker, tea bags, and a couple packets of tomato soup. Patrick lit a fire to warm up the hut and there was some fresh snow on the mountains. The sun finally came out! It was the perfect day to get up there and tackle the Cascade Saddle! My boots dried a bit better than they did yesterday but I figured that they’re likely going to get wet within 10 minutes after trekking today. The two Richards wanted a photo of the three of us gazing up at the mountains, and Antje was joking about how we’re probably going to end up in Rough Guides.

When they were done photographing us, we were ready to begin our track. They didn’t seem to want to say goodbye. As we crossed the bridge (one person at a time because the bridge has a load limit of one person) they followed us to say goodbye. However they should have joined us on our way to the Cascade Saddle! As I guessed, my boots were filled with water only about 10 minutes into the walk. Dart Glacier is about 2-3 hours walk from Dart Hut whereas the Cascade Saddle is about 4-5 hours walk. Much of the beginning of the walk was through ankle-deep water until we reached a wide open glacier-cut valley where the trail is marked by cairns. Iceland is where I first saw these rock stacks, and “cairn” is a Scottish name. During my travels in Iceland I was told it’s an old Viking tradition but I’ve seen these rock stacks in several countries. The weather was very nice and it warmed up so I took off my jacket. Antje and Patrick were walking super fast because they were worried about possibly getting back in the dark if we didn’t hurry. They would wait if I fell too far behind. There is a small glacier on the mountain but Dart Glacier is a huge glacier that even makes Fox and Franz Josef look small. The toughest part of the walk today was climbing down a rock wall, crossing a stream, and then climbing up another rock wall. It was a climb that really required some teamwork and it was good to be with other people as I did it. We caught sight of Dart Glacier as we came around a corner and all we saw at that point was the dirty terminal but the higher we ascended the more we saw the clean part.

There were no sounds of helicopter engines, or any tour buses…it was just Dart Glacier! Nature at it’s finest! This glacier is so huge! “Glacier” is “gletcher” in German; Antje told us that. We stopped for a snack break with a magnificent view of Dart Glacier. I pulled out an apple and sipped some water as we sat there admiring the view. Antje proclaimed “let’s build a house here!” We definitely should but what if there’s an avalanche? We were at about the halfway point for the walk; it was about another two hours to Cascade Saddle. As we went higher, snow was on the ground, and some of the rocks were slippery. Antje waited for me as I made my way up a series of rocks to an area that was more flat yet filled with snow. On the Rees-Dart Track you’ll fall plenty of times. Antje nor I have walking poles, yet Patrick does so that really works to his advantage. Snow on the ground, the glacier ahead of me, blue sky, a U-shaped valley below me, and a magnificent mountain to my left…this is the outdoors at its best! It was like I was walking in Denali National Park or perhaps scaling Mt. McKinley. Alaska is a great place I’ve yet to visit. Patrick was so prepared he even had a GPS unit with him! He checked our altitude because he was hoping we wouldn’t be climbing for another hour and then be stuck walking back in the dark. We were at about 1420 metres and Cascade Saddle is 1527 metres. Antje was thinking about walking down another path because it was starting to cloud up near the saddle, but I convinced them that we came all this way and that we should finish the journey. Bravely, we walked in the footsteps of whoever the first explorer was that discovered Cascade Saddle, and at about 2:00 we made it! It was cloudy but we could see into a deep valley below and get some fabulous photos!

Very few visitors to New Zealand get to walk up to Cascade Saddle, so I have a great story to share with Colin and all of my other friends. Getting up to the saddle will probably score me a lot of “brownie points” with Colin because he seems to think that I don’t really do much. If I had a bit more experience I could continue onto Aspiring Hut and then into the Matukituki Valley and then onto Wanaka. Since it is about a 4-hour walk back we started to set out back toward Dart Hut. I’m so glad I went on this journey. Up until the other day I felt like I hadn’t been doing anything for over a month but now I’ve really been doing stuff! Antje and I were well ahead of Patrick for awhile and then we waited for him to catch up. We kept snapping photos of the glacier as we made our way below the snowline and into the valley. What a journey it was up to Cascade Saddle! Earlier I was a bit worried about going down that rock wall we had to ascend earlier. Going down would be a bit scarier than going up; it required a bit of teamwork and quite a bit of guts, but we all made it down the first and up the second, safely. As I was crossing a stream, I stepped on an icy rock, and my body came straight out from under me. In the process I ended up straining my Achilles; it sucks because I did the same thing on Stewart Island last year and it takes a fair while to heal. For hours, Antje, Patrick, and I kept walking; three people, three nationalities, yet one journey! We gathered some kindling wood about a half hour or so from the hut and then I ambled back as I saw the hut. It was about 5:30 when I made it back (I was the last) and it felt great to be back after this marvellous journey! The Cascade Saddle has to rank among the top five walks in New Zealand! Tonight it was only the three of us staying at the hut. With no DOC ranger I could easily stay at the hut and not worry about getting bothered about not having a hut pass. Patrick set up a fire and I boiled some water for a cuppa, and man did that feel good! Patrick nor Antje know how to play chess so I didn’t have a competition tonight. However I didn’t need competition I just needed some R&R after this long day of tramping! Three times in the wilderness I’ve stayed at the same hut for two nights (Dart, Welcome Flat, and Mason Bay). Tonight I was talking with Antje about my brother, Sean, who has lymphoma. He and I used to always fight when we were kids, but she said that all brothers do that. Sean definitely has had his fair share of hospital visits; he had surgery on his intestine as a baby and then broke his arm in third grade. Knock wood I haven’t had any hospital visits since I was really tiny (and I don’t want any hospital or doctor visits). After drinking my cuppa I decided to make a spaghetti and tomato soup concoction. It turned out really good; just like the stuff that comes in a can, only tastier. Apples and spaghetti were left by the DOC ranger the other night so we had a few things to cook with. Fruits and vegetables are a bit hard to carry while tramping unless you have a crushproof container for them, and I’ve learned that the hard way before. As I glanced at the Falkland Islands book I sipped another cuppa. It felt so good on this cold night! Since there were only three of us I put my stuff in the bunkroom that Antje and Patrick were sleeping in and closed the empty bunkroom so we’d get more heat from the fire in there. What a journey this has been! I know I keep saying that but this will go down as one of my finest! Another of my greatest journeys that I don’t really talk about much is sailing from Whitianga to the Bay of Islands via Great Barrier Island on a yacht. At 9:00 PM or so, I decided to wash up and go to sleep after such an adventurous day. Tomorrow is my fourth day in the wilderness, and let it be a great one! See you soon.

            While today wasn’t as adventurous as walking up to Cascade Saddle yesterday, it was a journey in its own right! This morning I woke up at about 7:30 and fixed up my morning cuppa after washing up. Antje and Patrick were talking about going on a day trip into the Whitburn Valley to see another glacier. As much as I wanted to do the same thing, I put my panic date down as 4 May and there was no way to change it because there is no phone or radio here. It would be a difficult situation if someone fell and broke their leg, etc. if they didn’t have a mountain radio or PLB. There is no mobile phone coverage out here. After Antje, Patrick, and I finished our brekkie, we set out. They would be going to the Whitburn Valley while I’d be setting out toward Daley’s Flat Hut. In theory I could have finished the rest of the track today but I’m not in any rush. As we were walking I came very close to slipping on another ice-covered rock. The worst thing to have would be a torn Achilles or any major injury. 45 minutes into our walk, it was time to say goodbye to Patrick and Antje, and then I was on my way. Only a few minutes later I saw a purple mushroom! That’s something that’s got to be rare as hen’s teeth (well, hens don’t have teeth). Immediately I shot a photo. My friend Craig on Stewart Island has a photo of a blue mushroom; I’ve yet to see one of those. Mycology on the Rees-Dart is just as spectacular as that I saw on the Kepler. It was sunny out with a bit of frost as I wandered into a large field where the trail was marked by cairns. My pants were getting wet because the frost on the plants was melting. The view looks very similar to Yosemite (only greener) because of the glacially carved valleys, etc. There are many areas of the Southern Alps region, especially on the Milford, look a bit like Yosemite due to the glacial features. At one point I accidentally went off the trail a little bit, and I was a bit nervous because I couldn’t find my way back but I eventually got back and I was right.

 Four hours into the walk it I stumbled upon Cattle Flat, and five minutes off the trail is a bivouac rock that would be perfect for sleeping under but it’s much too cold for camping. Next time I definitely have to bring long johns because sometimes it’s more fun to camp than to stay in huts. I must say the walk today was beautiful but nowhere near as spectacular as yesterday. It took me seven hours to walk from Dart Hut to Daley’s Flat Hut. There was absolutely nobody there and I figured it was going to stay that way. Immediately I got my wet boots off and I tried to get a fire going but it just went out every time. There was a note left by Pete and Nikki for Antje that if she can find the egg it’s hers. When I looked for it I found it under a cup on the bench (counter). In need of a cuppa, I boiled up some water and made a cuppa. It felt so good on this cold night! Drinking tea from a metal billy isn’t the same as drinking from a teacup, but it works out well. Twice more I tried to start a fire but twice more I had no luck so I gave up on it. After drinking my cuppa I made some tomato soup and munched on some Arnott’s biscuits. Tomato soup is so delicious! I’d never get tired of it. It seemed like it was going to be a long, lonely, and very cold night so I decided to crawl into my sleeping bag before it got really cold. Using my broken torch I was reading up on the Falklands. Even though it was only 6:30 it was dark and I was in my sleeping bag, thinking I’ll get up and set out very early. As I tried to call asleep I heard a noise, and then a torch shine through my window. At first I thought it was a DOC ranger or a deer hunter but he was just another tramper; Ben from Germany. He walked all the way from Shelter Rock Hut to Daley’s Flat Hut today; he must have walked super fast because that is a long walk! Since it was the last night in the wilderness we could share our food a bit more liberally than usual. I shared my chocolate bar and biscuits and he gave me some sweet rice when he cooked some up. He even built a fire to warm up the hut, and man did that feel good! New Zealand winters are not for the faint-hearted! However they’re not nearly as cold as Russian or Alaskan winters. With the fire going we dried our boots as best we could and shared travel stories. Ben is going home to Germany in only a few weeks and he wants to go bungy-jumping in a couple of days, hence the reason he “raced” around the Rees-Dart. If I had set my panic date a day later I’d be at Dart Hut again tonight. This is my fourth straight night in the wilderness; my longest such stretch since being in New Zealand. However, I have enough food (if I was to eat light) to last me at least two or three more nights out here. One of these days I’ll be prepared to take 10 to 12-day Northwest Circuit on Stewart Island. The heat from the fire wasn’t reaching the bunkroom so we brought a couple of mattresses out into the main room like I did at Shelter Rock Hut. It’s cold now, but it’s only going to get colder. The brunt of the South Island winter has yet to arrive, but when it does the snow on the Southern Alps will be so magnificent! Tomorrow is the fifth and last day of my journey on the Rees-Dart Track. At about 11:00 I washed up and then got ready to lie down after a long day of walking. If I were on a longer tramp I probably would set it up to have at least one day of rest. I’ll see you back in Queenstown tomorrow!

            Today was the fifth and final day of tramping on the Rees-Dart Track. This morning I woke up at about 7:00 AM when I heard Ben setting up a fire. It was so cold in the hut and I didn’t want to get out of my sleeping bag! It was starting to feel warm after the fire was one for awhile so I got up, washed up, and made my morning cuppa. Frost filled the ground outside and it was chilly. Ben wanted to do some writing in his journal before setting out, so I set out, pack and all, at about 9:15 AM. Everyday I’ve been setting out anywhere between 9:00 and 9:15. I don’t wear a watch; my clock is on my camera. Only a few minutes after setting out I nearly took a couple of falls. On the Rees-Dart I sure have taken my fair share of falls, and my Achilles still hurts a bit. When walking on large rocks I was cautious because it’s hard to tell if they’re covered in frost or ice. Most of the walk today was just vegetation with the odd spectacular view or two. Feeling anxious to get back into “civilization” I told myself to walk slowly, enjoy the journey, and forget about the destination. My boots were flooded out again; on this tramp I haven’t only had to deal with wet boots, but I’ve had to deal with wet boots everyday! On one section of today’s walk I was walking on the edge of a rock looking down into the river!

It was an amazing sight but you wouldn’t want to take a tumble down there! Toward the end of the walk there were a fair number of runners training for a race on the Routeburn Track. It was a good sign because it meant there likely were cars parked at Chinaman’s Bluff carpark. Ben caught up with me and then hurried past. He told me that it’s more of a sport for him to walk fast on the track. At about 1:00 PM, 67 km and five days after beginning, I completed the Rees-Dart Track! Five of New Zealand’s great tracks are now under my belt (however I’ve only walked the full length of the Milford and Rees-Dart Tracks). Most of the runners had made it back to the carpark but there were still a few to go. A couple of them said they’d give Ben and I a lift after everyone had returned. It felt great to get my wet boots off but then I had to worry about sandflies, so I covered my feet with my jacket. There are like, no sandflies in Queenstown yet they’re all over Glenorchy (but still not as bad as in Milford Sound or Stewart Island). For the time being I just munched on Arnott’s biscuits until they were all ready to go. A female runner is from South Africa and came to New Zealand about three years ago. Speaking of South Africa, I’ve had a few people think that I have a South African accent. When we reached Glenorchy they dropped me off in front of the Holiday Park because I needed to return my intentions form slip. Ben showed up a few minutes later, but we decided it’d be easier if we were to hitch separately, for obvious reasons (two men hitching together is never easy). Ben walked ahead and I stayed. A hunter named Paul picked me up, and then we picked up Ben. Paul told me he’s been to Niue when I told him about it. He went diving there! There are many things I still have to do, and scuba diving is one of them. There wouldn’t be a better place than Niue to go for a dive. Paul is originally from the U.K. but he moved here a few years ago. He knew of a British lolly shop in Queenstown which sells Devon custard; something that’s very hard to find in New Zealand despite the British influence. Lake Wakatipu was so calm today, so I had to jump out for a photo. When I got cell phone coverage I got a message from Teressa saying she’s heard about swine flu cases in New Zealand, but I’m not worried and the reason I went on the track is to get away from all that negative news. Since I had access to good food I was hungry for some fish & chips (in Australia they’re pronounced “feesh & cheeps whereas out here it’s fush & chups) so I went to P.J.’s and got some tasty fish & chips for $9 and then went to the store and got a Red Bull while my food was being deep-fried. After eating, I went to the bungy centre and tried to call Teressa via Skype but she wasn’t answering. I tried to call her again and she still didn’t answer. Why does she do this to me? On MySpace I uploaded more than 40 photos from my Rees-Dart journey. Even though it was late I called Dad because I wanted to find out how Sean is doing. He said that Sean is handling it very well; something that I’m not sure I’d be able to do. The bungy centre closed at 6:30 so I went and got a cup of hot cocoa. Ben met up with me and then we started to head back to my place. He was complaining about his back hurting as I tried to get us a lift, but no one was stopping for us tonight so we ended up walking back. As we walked down the track, we saw a candle lit but I didn’t see Colin’s van. Louis was home, but Colin has been MIA recently. According to Louis he didn’t come home the entire time I was on the Rees-Dart. We had a fire going and, like last night in the hut, Ben pulled out a mattress from the back bedroom and brought it out into the front room. Winter is approaching! For some it’s a tyranny but I’m going to embrace it wholeheartedly. The South Island will become a photographer’s paradise in about a month or so (well, it already is but even more so in a month). It feels great to be back after five days in the wilderness. Ben cooked up some tomato pasta and gave me some. We were almost out of gas for the cooker but there was enough to make a cuppa. Ben is going bungy jumping in the morning so he’s going to get up and leave very early tomorrow. Tired, I washed up at about 10:00 PM and decided to lie down. I’ll see you tomorrow.

Of all the tracks in Aotearoa, the Rees-Dart is definitely my favourite! I'd walk it again in a heartbeat, and I shall peer into the Matukituki Valley again...

Tags: adventures, nature, tramping, wilderness


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