We awoke with clear skies! Spirits where high and everyone was eager to get going while the weather was kind.
We were sharing the track with a group of 21 people from 4 young families that were all on NZ school holidays. We were fortunate to have chosen a different bunk room to them due to the high energy and excitement that is typical in this age group.
Today we were starting out at around 900m and would be reaching 1255 over Harris Saddle but as we made good time and skies were still clear we took on the optional side trip up Conical Hill at over 1500m. The view was well worth the difficult climb up with views right down the Hollyford Valley to the coast where we could see Martins Bay and the Tasman Sea.
The entire day’s walk was above the tree line and whilst we missed the mystical damp green moss and ferns, it was made up for with the 360 degree mountain and valley views. It was truly spectacular and one that you have to experience yourself to appreciate! No words can describe how awesome it is. It was definitely a pinch yourself day!
The day’s walk finished back under the tree line, back to the truly amazing enchanted forest where you are expecting a goblin or pixie to appear around the next corner.
Hmm, accommodation arrangements were looking grim. Whilst the families had bagsed the outer bunk room, we were left with a single row of 12 beds, shoulder to shoulder, to choose from and already 7 of these had been taken with more “trampers” still arriving!
As it turned out, it was our best night sleep in any of the huts to date as we had positioned ourselves with at least a full mattress buffer and as the mattresses were all butted up against each other, we were able to zip our sleeping bags together and sleep matrimonial style. Cozy!
Today was definitely a highlight of our NZ tramping experiences to date and made up for missing the view from Mackinnons pass on the Milford track. Can we dodge another weather bullet as we have done over the last couple of days? We’ll see!