Sunday, June 11, 2017

Coast to Coast - from Freshwater Hut to home (part 1)

Freshwater Hut to North Arm Hut (red dot),
then all the way out to the yellow star
(map courtesy of Google)
I couldn't have asked for better weather conditions for my big hike; clear skies, cool temperatures and no wind. After a hearty breakfast and words of wisdom from other trampers, I left the hut at 8.15am and set off, smiling at the inspirational messages on the track markers as I passed each one.

Profile of Coast to Coast, courtesy of DOC brochure

Topo map of Freshwater Hut to North Arm, courtesy of Google
It took me about an hour to the start of the really steep bit where I struggled initially until I realised that wearing a raincoat was the reason for overheating. A tramper at the hut suggested taking a manuka stick and that was invaluable, both for balance and for testing the depth of mud! Slowly (very slowly in places, ha ha) and surely I plodded along, taking photos where possible.

I had heard that there's no real view from 'the top' but there were tantalising glimpses towards the top as you progress along a stream bed. I'm sure this would be a raging torrent in wet weather but fortunately there hadn't been much rain for the previous fortnight so a tame burbling brook for my crossing.

Glimpses of sun-soaked ridges

Looking back at the stream-bed section
I hadn't seen a lot of wildlife on the way up but birds come when you're still and calm, not puffing like a steam train and squelching through the mud! I checked my GPS occasionally to ensure I was making progress and it was very satisfying to reach the end of the uphill before midday. What a gorgeous bit of track along the ridge - the sun was streaming through, there was heaps of kiwi sign and fab views over bush clad hills and down into Paterson Inlet.

At the top of Thomson Ridge (about 430m)

Looking ?south

Looking back over Freshwater Valley and the west coast

Walking in kiwi footprints

Sunshine and boardwalk at the top of Thomson Ridge

Looking south-east over Paterson Inlet

Starting the downhill bit
A good place to pause here and continue in my next blog...