After a luxurious sleep-in, Reuben and I left the hut late in the morning and began the shallow climb up to the saddle. The weather forecast had told me the rain would start around 1pm, so we planned only to walk the 2.5 hours to Hamilton Hut today and spend the afternoon playing cards, cosy inside.
Along the way to the saddle, signs repeatedly warned us of avalanches, and looking at the steep scree mountains on either side of us, it was easy to understand why the track wouldn’t be a good idea in winter.
We arrived at the hut just as the rain began, and settled in for a lazy afternoon. The hut, referred to by some as the Hamilton Hilton, was large and in good condition, with two sleeping areas and – gasp – an inside sink WITH a tap!
As we watched the rain outside become steadily heavier we played countless games of cards and drank tea. Other trampers showed up at regular intervals, and I dutifully swapped notes and warnings about the trail ahead with some southbound TAers.
Making the next day’s lunch, Reuben and I discussed the logistics of him walking back down the valley to the carpark to look for his missing wallet, while I would continue north to Bealey Hut. We agreed to do just that, and meet up at Bealey Hut tomorrow evening, since it marked the other end of the track and was accessible by the road.