Oct 19 day 49 Tieke Kainga Hut to Downes Hut 60 km (by canoe) 7:45-4:30
Had breakfast, said goodbye to our host Wai, and we got on the water early– hoping to make 60 km which would then put us in a good position to make Wanganui tomorrow. Across the morning we hit a series of rough, difficult rapids, where we shipped a lot of water, and, since I was in front today, I was soaked all morning. Fortunately we avoided capsizing when we were nearly swamped, and ultimately made it through the day shipshape. We even survived the 50/50 where as the name implies half the boats capsize. The afternoon got long and slower as the water slackened and the wind picked up. We worried we would pass the hut without seeing it, which as it turns out could easily happen as there was no visible signage or path up. We tracked it with GPS, located it, and made the muddy climb up to a simple but very nice hut. We were soon joined by two French men I had met at a coffee shop back in National Park. They too are on their way to Wanganui tomorrow. Talked a long while, primarily about equipment and food– they are looking for ways to reduce weight–really interesting guys. Long day for all of us so early to bed.