Day 57: Anne Hut to Waiau Hut

Remy is the loudest tea-slurper I’ve ever met and I really think, for his safety, that we shouldn’t share a hut again. Anyone that knows me well knows that certain sounds, like someone chewing with their mouth open, for example, turn me into an irrational rage machine. I’ll add tea-slurping to the list.

I left the hut first this morning, despite my best efforts to leave last, ensuring I’d have the day to myself. It was nothing personal against Remy and Caroline, but more to do with my general melancholy, created by a mixture of the weather, saying goodbye to the boyfriend yet again, and the fact that I hadn’t brought any coffee with me.

Setting out.

In the end, I did have the day to myself, walking quickly, and the swarms of sandflies ensuring my breaks were as brief a possible. I launched into the unfamiliar world of podcasts today, and found they helped the unremarkable and uncomfortable day go quickly. The trail today is a blur of mud and grass in my memory.

I only started paying attention to my surroundings when at one point I looked up and saw a steep ridge dotted with snow ahead of me at the end of the valley. Hang on, I thought, and pulled out my map to look at as I walked. Waiau Pass at once became a reality in front of me, and the last hour of today’s walk was spent in excited and fearful anticipation. I was anxious that the time had come at last, and grateful that it was finally here and that I could see it, and it was no longer a scary, dangerous, and impossible feat in my mind. Just a scary and dangerous challenge at the end of that valley.

See that distant rocky ridge there? Yikes.

Sitting in Waiau Hut looking up at the mountain as the sun has gone down and the clouds have rolled in, the three of us are wondering if we will actually make it up there tomorrow. The ridgeline is no longer visible, although the DOC office had forecast fine weather tonight and tomorrow when I radioed them last night from Anne Hut. Tomorrow will tell, I suppose. I hope we do get over the pass tomorrow; Blue Lake Hut on the other side has a separate room I can escape to when the tea comes out.

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