Day 105 – Royal Hut to Camp Stream Hut

February 16, 2017

km traveled today: 16

total TA km: 2354

Woke up to a super cold morning. I opened the door of our tent to have my morning pee to find frost on tents. In the freezing cold it took us an hour and a half to get moving. We left at 9:30 with the elderly women, after they vigorously thanked us for letting them sleep inside the warm hut.

We started the climb with the hens, our affectionate term for the old ladies but soon enough we started to fly. After the first zig zags of the stream we found our groove and started to cruise. With the many stream crossings we had to do, my priority as well as the other was to keep our feet dry for the day we had coming up. Expertly crossed, we managed to keep our feet dry and stay in good moods. After one particular crossing we had to rock climb up this fifteen foot embankment. Our first thought was, “no way that the hens can possibly do this.”

The first really steep part of the climb started with about 4-500 meters left in the ascent, but we cruised through it. We Caught our breath at the top and got to look out over what we had climbed. The valley below us wound its way down and around down to the hut way below us. The sun was awesome and warm and we were in great spirits.

The last 200 meters to the saddle felt easy as my thoughts went to the feeling of triumph when I summit the saddle. It was more than expected. The view was outstanding, looking over the lake below us and the snow capped peaks in the distance marked a really incredible high point of the trail.

We spent about an hour and a half at the saddle, enjoying the view and eating lunch. We were finishing up lunch when we saw Annabel and Gregg who we started with sit down next to us. It was a really cool full circle moment.

Of course we couldn’t let the high point of the trail pass without taking a million pictures, so we all took our photo shoots and group shots. 

We finished lunch and set our sights just a little higher. We free climbed to 2089 meters, the peak next to the stag saddle (busenberg peak). The climb was a scramble as it was a super sketchy climb. 

The rocks slid out from under you as you put weight on them so we made sure not to follow each other up the mountain. The summit offered the most amazing views of aoraki, mt Tasman, and that range of glacier capped peaks. In our moment of triumph we got to look down at what we had climbed, and there below us were the little black dots of the hens slowly making their way up the mountain.

Putting the old women out of our minds we had a snowball fight on top. Well, Thomas, Hawkins, and I did, while the other three shirked away from the cold blast of snow. Then we spent another good long while throwing rocks up and trying to hit it with other rocks, it’s really a fun game, I promise.

Of course we took lots more pictures and then started to climb down on the ridge. We were constantly in awe of the views.

When we finished the ridge walking we found ourselves back down on the stream bed for a while walking through the never ending tussock.

Kinda dead, sunburnt, dehydrated we yearned for the hut. The hut was a relief. It was a really cool little tin shack that we decided we should save for the hens so that they could come in exhausted and be able to sprawl out on a bunk. So while we waited we set up our tents and made mac and cheese that Thomas and Hawkins donated to us which was really really amazing. Lots of people were showing up, but no still no sign of the hens. We waited till about 9 for the hens, but there was still no sign of them, so we decided to hit the hay.

All in all it was a really really incredible day. I am really grateful that I’ve taken the time to do this trip, good and bad. Today was an especially beautiful and fun day.



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