As has been the case for the last few times I’ve reached a city, I got into Nelson to find that a storm was on its way and I’d be stuck for a while. This time though, it was only three nights, and I was delighted to find that I could doably walk to the Te Araroa trail from Nelson city centre in one day. As soon as the weather allowed me, that’s what I did. I spent an hour getting out to the suburbs, then took a walking and cycling trail called the Dun Mountain Track up to the Coppermine Saddle, taking about five hours. The trail is an old railway route, so the incline was very gradual and the walking was easy.
On my map, I couldn’t see a trail between Coppermine Saddle and Dun Saddle, about 800m apart and the vital link in my plan to rejoin Te Araroa. From the map though, I could tell that it wasn’t steep country and it was above the bushline, so I’d be able to see where I was going. Or so I’d hoped, until the clouds rolled in a couple of hours into the day and suddenly I couldn’t see 100m in front of me!
Luckily, it had cleared by the time I got to the saddle, and it turned out that there was in fact a trail linking the two, so there were no dramas. I approached Rocks Hut, officially back on the trail, had a twenty minute lie down and then got back out to walk the five kilometers down to Middy Hut, my home for the night.
It’s a full hut tonight, with five other women already there when I arrived. Usually with such a full hut I would camp outside, but it’s freezing and they had the fire going when I arrived, making it hard to leave! One of the women lives close to my destination tomorrow night, a campground in Pelorus, so she’s asked me to take her ute home from the road end if it’s still there when I get out (if it hasn’t been picked up by her partner yet). Good old kiwi trust!