Kia Ora to Windy Ridge
My sleep was interrupted by a noisy visitor. I put my camping dishes in a plastic bag inside the tent vestibule where I also stored my shoes at night. A possum must have smelled the sponge I used to clean my dishes, so it sneaked under my tent and tried to pull away the whole plastic bag.
Of course I woke up from the noise and tried to shoo it away by rattling my tent, but it didn’t let go until I grabbed my torch and looked outside my tent. By then half of my sponge was already torn to pieces.
The rest of the night went without further incidents, but in the morning the group of Christmas singers made me pack my luggage in record time so I started the walk early. Once again the weather looked fantastic and today’s walk would pass several interesting water falls, so it seemed to become another great day.
The first stop was at Du Cane hut, a old hut that is now used as an emergency shelter. It’s a really great spot, not hard to figure out why people built the hut in that location.
The walk continued through forest and the next stop was already at D’Alton and Fergusson Falls. There’s a junction from where walkers can climb down to the falls. I almost made the mistake of taking my backpack down there but then I left it on the track, grabbed my tripod and camera and took some photos, it’s really worth checking out the falls. I read some people leave it out and hurry to the next hut, but I definitely would have missed out on something if I hadn’t taken the time to see the great waterfalls.
A bit further down the track there was yet another one, Hartnett Falls. Personally I think it was the best one because one can walk all the way down and have lunch, even though it’s a long walk to the bottom. Only a handful of people actually went down, I can’t really understand it – it was a perfect spot to have lunch and to put your feet in the cold refreshing water for a while.
After Hartnett Falls there was a very tiring climb up to Du Cane Gap, mostly tiring because it was very hot and sunny and the walk continued on open field without forest cover that protects from the sun.
I think around 3pm I reached Du Cane Gap from where it was only down-hill to Windy Ridge where I arrived about one hour later. On my way down to the hut I saw yet another tiger snake, but again I was too stunned to take my camera and take a good photo.
At Windy Ridge they built a brand new hut, called Bert Nichols Hut. While the area is still called Windy Ridge (even on signs), the hut has the name Bert Nichols Hut. It was completed in July 2008 and is very impressive. It has two giant water tanks; sleeping and eating areas are separated to avoid noise for those who want to sleep, there’s space to hang wet clothes for drying – everything kind of makes sense. But I preferred to sleep in my tent again, there were nice and sheltered single tent platforms.
At Pelion there was another ranger who carried lists of the people who walked the track. She walked with us every day from hut to hut until Narcissus. I’m not sure if that’s normal but with a ranger nearby every day there’s not much that can potentially happen on the track, even for solo walkers.
I still wasn’t sure if I should go the side trip to Pine Valley and spend one night there, I had enough food supplies but somehow I thought 8 days on the track was enough. So far I had so much luck with weather, injuries and so on, I didn’t want to stretch my luck.
When I went to bed it was still early at night but I got really annoyed by the number of mosquitos that bit me so I decided to crawl in my tent and enjoy a review of the photos I had taken so far. It was absolutely quiet around my tent, it was a few metres away from the hut and there was no wind outside. Later at night however it got really windy again and pretty cold as well. That’s something I noticed several times, even if it’s hot and sunny during the day, it can become really cold at night.