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reveries of an amateur long-distance hiker

Day 83

November 23rd, 2015

Nov 22 day 83 Hurunui Hut # 3 to Locke Stream Hut 7:00-12:00 13 km


It rained off and on most of the night and was raining when I left Hurunui Hut. I hoped to at least get to Kiwi Hut if not out to the road to Arthur’s Pass, but high water is high water. I was able to get to Locke Stream Hut– a difficult and at times very technical hike–because the first half was upstream toward the headwaters of the Hurunui and the second was down off Harper’s Pass along the headwaters of the Taramakau. It was only below the Locke Stream that the river became impassible (which I discovered by trying to cross only to be almost waist deep is a powerful current and decided discretion was the better part of valor for that day). The prudent choice was to remain at Locke Stream until tomorrow when the flood will presumably have dropped. Will decide tomorrow but will likely take the road down the other valley to Arthur’s Pass as the books all say not to try the Deception/Mingha trail after heavy rains. The hike over the pass was actually pretty fun. Was soaked from the rain and lots of stream crossings, so I ended up splashing through the trail like a kid. There was one moment on the ascent where I rounded a muddy turn and was ready to step on a large rock on the side of the path only to realize just in time that it was not a rock but instead a bloated, hairless, dead cow. Glad I didn’t stab its side with my trekking pole for balance– the smell, whew. Locke Stream is one of the original huts built in the 1930s when they were trying to make the Harper Track a rival to Milford, an ill-considered idea as there is not a lot here that I would call arresting beauty. The hut itself is very cool. It is an isolated place so it was built from hand-hewn native timbers. The framing is all exposed and was clearly riven and the floorboards were adzed smooth. Spent a quiet afternoon getting caught up on my reading, etc.