Day 101: Camp Stream Hut to Tekapo

Distance travelled today: 34 km

Total TA distance covered: 2384 km

Fresh snow.

Another rainy night in my tent but the Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo held up well. I stayed dried in the tent and warm in my sleeping bag and thermals. Very thankful that I swapped out my summer bag for a warmer model for the south island. I envisage more cold nights coming up as I head further south.

There was no chance to dry yesterdays wet clothes though and I had no option but to get eventually put them back in. Sun was expected today and I knew with a shell layer over the top to act as insulation I would soon warm up and my clothes would dry later in the day. That thought did nothing for that uncomfortable feeling of putting on damp clothes first thing in the morning.

Exiting the tent, I was amazed to see all the surrounding hills had a fresh dusting of snow on top so it was obviously a cold night. I was thankful that I was able to cross Stagg Saddle yesterday otherwise I would tackling it in snow today. In the early morning light the hill top scene was amazing. Others in the hut thought so too as they spilled out to take some photos.

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The tramping was easy today. Big miles butveasy to do.

From the hut the poled route followed Camp Stream Hut and I started to follow this but was soon running into multiple creek crossings, spear grass and tussocks aling the creek. I knew I had to follow the creek for several kilometres so navigation was easy and I spied a much easier route on a gravel terrace up above the creek. I headed for it and sure enough this route was much easier. Better yet it overlooked the creek and it was easy to see the marker poles down below.

There was one major climb today and it came early. Crossing Camp Stream the trail headed straight up hill towards Round Hill to a hanging valley. A valley suspended high above the river on a wide terrace and surrounded by tall peaks. Still through tussock country but small stunted stuff with looks or bare or open ground. Once up high the walking was easy and would continue all the way to the  Lilybank Road on the edge of Lake Tekapo.

Getting up on top was amazing. Clear views over Lake Tekapo, Mt Cook and surrounding mounains all with fresh snow.

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I had heard Tekapo can be quitecthe zoo and most accomodation booked out so I wasn’t quite sure where I would be staying tonight. I found a hill top will reception and began making calls. Sure enough most venues were fully booked, including the YHA and camping sites. I had sent my bounce box and a 3rd pair of trail runners ahead to the YHA from Nelson some weeks ago and was hoping to stay there. Unfortunately not to be this time. After about the 5th phone call I finally scored a motel room. That would suit me well as I planned to have a day off tomorrow and not having to share a room with stanard backpackers is always good – they tend to follow the party, stay out late and make lots of noise; trampers on the other hand are typically in bed by 8:30 exhausted from another hard day.

Continuing along the suspended valley the trail finally led down to Lake Tekapo. I wasn’t looking forward to the road walk into town but it had to be done.

Once on the road it was just a matter of counting down the kilometres. I got to within 5 or 6 km of town when a car pulled up and offered a lift. I accepted. Turns out my ride are part of the Sri Lankan 1st class team over in New Zealand for a tour with a day off and doing the touristy things. Awesome. Great conversation for the short ride into town but I cant for the life of me remember their names. Sorry guys. Good Luck against the Black Caps. Watch out for Brendan McCullum.

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