Dance with me, Henry
Today we're off to the Anne Hut. It's 14 km, the longest day so far, and longer than anything we've done in training, but, as far as we can tell, it's mostly flat or minimally lumpy. There is that suspension bridge...
If you think I'm dwelling overly on stuff that no self-respecting tramper would even bother about, it's all magic to me. I spent most of my fifties crippled with osteoarthritis, first of one hip, then the other, and waiting for my name to come up on a hospital surgery list. Now, with a couple of metal hip joints, I'm doing these very ordinary things, but just a year or two back I'd never have thought them even possible.
What's more, today is March 1st, St David's Day. We don't celebrate our saint's day in New Zealand as they do in, say, France, but I do, anyway.
We start in early on our breakfast and tidy-up. It's still dark outside.
After a highly disciplined year, Carol is considerably fitter this year than last, and can afford to sleep in an hour or so and still catch us easily before lunch. What we get that Carol doesn't, though, is the sun coming round the corner of the mountain just before 8 am when we set off.
The gold of the morning light is unbelievable as we set off across a pasture. The horses have crossed the river during the night.
They're obviously used to people, like the cattle earlier.
There's a few rocky creek beds to climb in and out of, but mostly, at this stage, it's fairly flat and still overall downhill. And the light is unbelievable.
This might just be my favourite pic for the entire walk:
Back down the valley, the Faerie Queen presides.
Not everybody makes it to the end of the trail
We head into some matagouri scrub
and emerge into a small area of pasture.
Once again I start wondering how boulders get that far out into the paddock.
We are however, alongside a large avalanche zone which more or less speaks for itself.
I don't think I'd want to be around when these are flying about the place.
The Ada tracks across to our side of the valley and we are forced to climb for a bit.
It's not always comfortable walking directly towards the sun, but there are compensations now and again.
Up ahead the Ada leaves us to join the Waiau further downstream, along the valley to the left. Up ahead to the right is the Henry Valley that we will be walking up soon.