Flashfloods and Earthquakes

It has been awhile since I’ve posted and a lot has happened. I’ve typed out a post on the this a few times now, but I didn’t post them, because while the described the events accurately the failed to capture the essence of the situation. So I’ll try again.

Everyone tells us this is the wettest summer in more than a decade, but it rains a lot either way.  We also have lots of stream and river crossings. And whats more is my hiking partner is named Swept Away. Long story short Katlyn doesn’t love river crossings and we have lots of them. At one point on the north island the streams rose so much over night that we waited for 4 hours to drop to a point we could cross them. On the south island the rivers are bigger and still raise quickly in a strong rain.

The terrain is rough and the going is slow at times and because of that Katlyn and I had fallen behind schedule. We had once again started to do big miles and were starting to get back on schedule, but we need to keep doing big miles.

The rain was light at first and the river crossing were not really effected, but the rain thickened and we were drenched as we came to a hut with 10k left to hike for the day. It was only 5pm, but it had become slightly miserable and everyone in the hut expected us to stay. We said hello and then we said good bye as we continued down the trail that was now a constant flow of water up to our knees. We had only gone 10 min when we reached a river crossing worse than anything we had seen at that point. We turned around and returned to the hut to wait for the river levels to drop. We weren’t the last to show up to the hut that night. Carbo and Jelly Bean showed up late and frazzled. The trail was even worse for them than it had been when we had gotten in. We hoped for a dry night so the water could drop.

I woke up at midnight. It was pouring. At 3 am it was pouring. At 6am it was raining and I looked at the river; it risen another meter. It became clear we would be staying another day. By 1 pm it had stopped raining, but the river was still high. We had a lovely day playing cards. And then we felt an earthquake. Just a small one. No one left the hut that but a couple more people  made to the hut bring us to 19 people and 18 bunks.

The next morning we all set out. The rivers were still a struggle and the flood track was even worse. Half way through the flood track Katlyn dislocated her shoulder. She put it back into place and we continued to the first exit. We were low on food and we needed a break. We hitched into town to recuperate. We returned to the trail for deception valley track: a track straight up a river bed. We got into arthurs pass and we ran into Carbo and Jelly Bean again. Carbo had gotten into stinging nettle. Stinging nettle here can be fetal and his senses weren’t working right. He couldn’t sense temperature.

We had all spent a day together in a hut and when we continued down trail we all dispersed and and every group did something slightly different.

I still wasn’t able to do justice to the situation, but at least there is an update for you.

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