Nov 18 day 79 Waiau Forks to Anne Hut 7:45-4:30 34 km
After yesterday’s exertions and the cold temperatures, it was hard to crawl out of the old bag this morning. Still, it was bright and beautiful in the woods, and I could see my jet boil on top of a stump so I could almost taste the coffee. Last night I built a fire, probably more to not be alone than for the need for heat, but I was able to dry my socks and shoes. Of course, the very first thing I had to do was wade through an icy river. All I could do was laugh and enjoy the fact that I could not feel my feet for part of the the morning. After some initial rockfield boulder hopping, the valley widened out, and the trail became flat and smooth, then became part of a four-wheel drive road for the rest of the day. Was windy but very sunny, and watching the valley open up as I walked down was magnificent. The only thing that broke up the pace were numerous still icy stream crossings, some thigh deep with very swift water. I met a French couple on the way. He had injured himself on the ice at the top of Waiau Pass and was struggling walking. After some pain pills, he was able to continue and they made it to the hut a few hours after I did. Anne Hut is new and quite large, housing me, a woman from Australia, and couples from France and Colorado. A quiet afternoon, sitting out in sun on front deck, then big dinner.