Hard time on the scree slopes

After a nice rest day in St Arnaud and many expeditions to the nearby restaurant, including with Arne, a German hiker who celebrated his birthday, we were ready to hike again.
On Friday 2nd of February, we were lucky enough to reach the hut while the rain started pouring. A few hours later, it was packed with many other hikers. 4 PM only and the rain stops. Okay, let's go to John Tait hut, signposted 5 hours away from here. Luckily, 3 hours and an half later, we were at John Tait, where a few other hikers are already, among them Cate and Tom. Tom is amazing : he started hiking on the Southern Island a few weeks ago. Still, he was able to hike as fast as most of us and he always keeps his smile.
Saturday, 6:30, we leave the hut. Today might be challenging, with 1100 meters to climb and 1200 to descend.
It's quite steep to reach the pass, but it's so beautiful that we nearly forget about our legs. We reach West Sabine hut earlier than expected, which gives us the time to clean it a little and to welcome the other hikers.
We meet François, a Belgian Te Araroa walker that is going northbound. He shares with us many stories and a bunch of advice on the places where we could make some extra hikes.
Being woken up at 4:30 by unrespectful hikers does not happen often, but when it happens, it's really a hassle. We end up staying later in bed because we're tired and we are a bit pissed off as well.
Today will be a long and difficult day and the weather doesn't help. We have to climb to Blue Lake and its water that is apparently the purest in the world. When we reach Blue Lake, the rain starts pouring.
But after that, we still have a long way to go. First, we climb to Constance Lake. The views on the lake with the surrounding mountains are amazingly beautiful.
From there, it gets really difficult. We have to climb a very steep scree slope that goes down when we try to climb up. After hours struggling with the scree, we eventually reach Waiau Pass. The weather is so bad that we can't see anything. We put on our gloves and immediately go down, hoping for something less difficult.
Sadly, the other side isn't better. We now have to climb down a cliff,without any rope or cable to help us. The rocks aren't slippery at all, even with the rain, thanks God. I just can't imagine how it's gonna be here tomorrow, with the weather forecast that are even worse. No picture are taken... We don't want to ruin our camera nor our phone.
Eventually, we made it down to the valley. Another 4 hours of walk and we reach the warm hut, where our TA friends already made a fire.
Tonight, 12 people will squeeze in the 6 bunk beds New Waiau hut.
It was a very hard day. At some moments, it seemed as we would not make it, that it was too hard (and too wet and too cold). But one step at a time, here we are!
Monday the 5th. Our friends are packing, bravely. We do not : today is going to be the worst day of the week and we decide that we would better stay here and wait for better. There is not much to say about the day, except that staying inside with a fire and a book sometimes feels like luxury.
In the evening, a nice couple of Czech living in NZ joined us. They share their wine and their Nutella with us, and it's a perfect end to such a nice day.
It's already Tuesday. We wake up at 6,but it rains, so we go back to sleep... Till 9:30! We start late, but the rain stops soon and we enjoy a beautiful day of flat walk in a open valley.
We cross many cristal clear rivers, barefoot for me and with her shoes for Marie-Laure. That's so refreshing!
26 kilometers later, we reach Anne hut, a new hut with 2 bedrooms. The 4 American girls are already there, as well as a French guy that decided to go hiking a few days in the mountains.
Wednesday 7th starts with a low sky. But after hiking a few kilometers, we cross Anne sadlle and a clear sky welcomes us on the other side. The day is so beautiful that we decide to hike till Boyle Village instead of stopping before. From there, we'll hitchhike to Hanmer Springs and its renowned thermal complex.
Is this trail really hard? I don't know. Sometimes it feels really challenging, sometimes it's just so easy. And we never know what tomorrow will bring us. The only thing that we can do is to support each other and stay mentally strong. We know that the stretch between Boyle and Arthur's Pass will be harder than expected. The last storm has made some trees to fall down and it's difficult to find its way in some places. We might also wait for the rivers to go down after the rain. We might even need to reroute of it's too dangerous.
The answers to all these questions will be in the next post, probably from Arthur's Pass.
Have a good day or evening dear readers! 


  1. salut le filles, je vs ai fait un commentaire, mais étant handicapé des multimédias je ne sais s'il vs est parvenu...

    1. Celui-ci nous est bien arrivé, celui qui n'est pas affiché ne l'est pas...

  2. Replies
    1. This is a really tough but very pretty section. You can hike it quite easily till Blue Lake from St Arnaud!


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