Day 61: Lakehead Hut to St Arnaud

I practically ran the easy, flat, 10km into town this morning, my mind focussed on the coffee I was going to purchase as soon as I arrived.

A few coffees in, I jittered into the DOC office only to find that the weather forecast brought snow and galeforce winds over the next four days.

The next section of the trail follows the ridges and peaks of the Richmond Ranges for eleven days, and it is the most commonly skipped section of Te Araroa, for precisely that reason; it needs to be completed in a good weather window, or not at all.

After a day of mulling over options, mentally calculating finances, doing laundry, and revisiting the DOC office several more times, I finally landed on a decision. I don’t want a repeat of the Arthur’s Pass saga (I definitely can’t afford it), so instead of hanging around waiting for the weather to clear, I’m going to jet west and walk the Abel Tasman track instead of the ranges. I’ve wanted to do it for a long time, and I figure the opportunity is right in front of me now! It will also be a lot safer being on the coast than in the mountains in the midst of this weird stormy weather that’s forecast.

Tomorrow I’ll begin the journey by road to Takaka, where I will probably wait out the worst storm day, before beginning the Abel Tasman north to south. I’ll do it in four days, head out to Nelson, then into the northern end of the Richmond Ranges and continue on Te Araroa, more or less keeping my original schedule.

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