Oct 31 Day 61 Nichols Hut to Otaki Forks 18 km 7:00-4:00
Woke up ready, packed up in record time, stepping out into a bright but cold morning. It was sublime. Hands and feet almost numb, the ground was frozen so the trail was stable, not slippery mud. The morning trek was on razor peak trails– no more than a shoe wide, with a number of rock climbing intervals– all the way up to the top of Mount Crawford. The light, after days of mist, was crystal, and the climb perfect. Then the range turned and descended to a winding woods and lots of root hiking. Steep drops with roots and mud are my slowest surface. I worry about tripping, so the rest of the morning was tedious. I arrived at the last hut on the range to find Remi, Leo, and Cory, who had been in front of me all this stretch (I’d see their names in the hut logs). We all set off together but they were fresh and young and soon left me slogging along. More mud and roots, long afternoon, but when I got to Otaki Forks, a couple was touring around with a visitor from Spain and offered to take me to Otaki. I took a room at the Otaki Hotel (not exactly four star) and they will show the game in morning. Relaxing before dinner, glad for amazing and diverse day.