No Vacancy

After Arthur’s pass we again settled into big days. During that section we had two impassable rivers. The trail official ends on the river bank and starts again on the other side. Getting around the rivers involves going 50+ kilometers out of our way. We had made it to the first river and though the trip around the river took much longer than I would have liked we were still making good time. The section between the two rivers was very nice and we reached the second river ready to start the two thumbs track a very well liked sections of trail including the high point for the TA.  We started hitching around the river assuming it would be a time consuming process like the first river and when we got our first ride our driver informed us that New Zealand was about to be hit by a weather bomb: 140kph winds, snow down to 1000m Our track would have taken us up to 2000m.

It’s meant to be summer.

We took a ride into town as we considered our options. Everyone in town was talking about the weather bomb. Two really bad days, one okay day, and then two more bad days. And no place on the island was going to be safe from this weather bomb. We didn’t have time to wait it out. And we didn’t want to be walking a ridge-line in 140 kph winds. And we didn’t want to skip one of the best sections of trail.

So we hitched down to Wanaka to head north. We would be low for the first couple days out of town then if we timed it right we would have good weather going over a couple passes and then we would be low again before we made it back to the two thumbs track.

We didn’t time it right and we got stuck in a terrible camp site at 1000 m when the second weather bomb hit. It snowed and the water seeped through the ground until I woke up in a puddle. Everything was drenched. Nearly hypothermic we hiked over the pass and down to the road. Half way down the road the snow turned to rain. We were still 30 k from town and we very much needed to dry out our gear. On a fairly busy highway we waited over an hour before someone took us into Twizel. We warmed up at a cafe, but the town had no vacancy. We still needed to dry things out and we really wanted a warm place to sleep for the night. We moved on to Tekapo. No vacancy.

So once again we left the two thumbs track behind unhiked and headed back to Wanaka to head south.

Hopefully we have time to finish that track once reach bluff, but until then the two thumb track remains unhiked.

The weather hasn’t gotten a whole lot better, but despite/because of the challenges I am really enjoying myself.

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