hike blog

TA Day 83, St. Arnaud to Upper Travers Hut, 30 km

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do. With your one wild and precious life?

Mary Oliver
Lake Rotoiti near St. Arnaud looks eerily calm especially after a forecast of rain and sever gale.

Sleep did not come easily. I was wound up with all the fever-pitch responses to my facebook query about the weather moving in and if I should move on. I came up with a plan to meet my friend Tom on Sunday and in the meantime hang out with Steve and Maggie until things clear, but something just didn’t sit right with this decision.

So I am up way too late and awake at my usual time, before dawn still worrying the decision to wait or move. At 8:00 I call the DOC office. A woman answers and seems totally relaxed. “The weather is so changeable in New Zealand,” she says and indicates it’ll be windy with rain starting at 4. “If it were me, I’d just keep walking.”

The fist several miles are along the flat Black Valley Walk and I walked them as fast as possible to get into the mountains before dark.
The fist several miles are along the flat Black Valley Walk and I walked them as fast as possible to get into the mountains before dark.
Catching up with Charley before John Tait Hut as the weather changed.
Catching up with Charley before John Tait Hut as the weather changed.
Bush-covered hills and giant sentinels gave this valley an ominous feeling.
Bush-covered hills and giant sentinels gave this valley an ominous feeling.

And I suddenly realize why things didn’t sit well. What’s going on in the mountains isn’t a storm with a beginning and an end. It’s more just the kind of activity that happens in the mountains – especially ones smack dab in the center of a long thin island. If I try to ‘wait it out’ it could be weeks and it’s just not that severe.