After a visit to the DOC office in the morning, I settled in for the day, deciding against beginning the Deception Route in the rain. It is forecast to rain heavily today and tomorrow, clearing on Monday. The second day of the Deception Route has me walking in the river for most of the day, and is a notoriously dangerous stretch, one that would be impossible directly following heavy rain.
I met a fellow TAer here this morning, Katie, who had been travelling the other way up this stretch yesterday. In order to navigate down to some boulders from a ledge, she had taken off her pack to lower it down before climbing down herself. Unfortunately, her pack was swept into the Deception River and traveled downstream before catching on some rocks. She was able to retrieve the pack, but realising that all of her gear was wet, and being wet and very cold herself, activated her locator beacon and was helicoptered out to Arthur’s Pass.
Katie was unusually nonchalant as she recounted this story to me, which only served to increase my anxiety about this upcoming section. A Ta purist, Katie has resigned to walk every metre of the trail from head to toe, and was excited when she learned that I was northbound and destined to walk the Deception Route in the next few days. She asked if she could come along, that way covering the parts of the trail she had missed, and creating a slightly safer situation, walking with company, for the difficult day. I gladly agreed.