Overthinking is a bastard.

It can cause the brain matter to swirl in circles when one is trying to quieten the mind, to reach a decision.

All four of us were doing it the evening before.

After all the Christmas cake had been consumed and getting ready to hit the fart sack.  Or bed if you didn’t know what a fart sack was!

Should we only go as far as Old Man Hut tomorrow, and if so, suck up the steep decent down to the hut that’s off the beaten track?  It would mean having to climb back up the 1,000 metres the following morning and pick up where we left off the day before, to start that day’s distance.

Or should we not go down to Old Man Hut tomorrow and keep going, to knock off both Rintoul’s as well in the same day.  Old Man Hut to Mt Rintoul Hut was our highest point of this trail section.  It is also the most extreme technical underfoot to navigate, the drop offs were real and uninviting.

Whatever Iain from IT said, we had to ask him to repeat it – remembering he’s a Scotsman with an accent!

Notwithstanding, overthinking is a bitch.

Reading previous fellow TA walker blogs was perhaps a mistake before setting off because some of the descriptive language used escalated more of the overthinking it.

And all four of us were doing it!

By the time people faded into noddy land, we had all agreed to go as far as Old Man Hut tomorrow.  And a second motion to stick together to scale up and over both Rintoul’s the following day.

And then the tomorrow arrived, which was Boxing Day everywhere else in New Zealand.

Iain from IT was first to get onto the trail, we weren’t too far behind, and we knew Katie would eventually catch up.

As we sidled upward to reach the first ridge, again the panoramic views were just phenomenal. It also gave us our first look at the Rintoul’s to the south.  Overthinking apprehension stirred.

The imprint on the shale marks the route towards the ridgeline.
Iain on the ridgeline.
Selfie pose from the ridgeline.
View across the valley to Little Rintoul on the left, and Big Rintoul on the right.
The mighty Kaikoura’s in the distance.

We caught up with Iain from IT and gas bagging whilst trekking the Ada Flat allowed us to clock over the undulating ridgeline kilometres.  Some negotiation of a narrow ridgeline before a climb up to Old Man summit had us view Katie powering the ridgeline we’d already trodden back over yonder.

Then we hit more technical clambering that slowed us up, taking a cautious approach so as not to need our PLB (Personal Location Beacon).  The views to the Kaikoura Ranges were crisp and clear.  It wasn’t too much longer when Katie was upon us for us to become a team of four.

TA walkers coming in the opposite direction were looking trail weary.  But chit chat swapping trail conditions lifted the spirits on the face of it.  However underneath, deep down, overthinking apprehension still stirred.  Rintoul’s were directly out to the front of us now, and still some ways off.

We were scooting through some ridgeline low tree bush when all of a sudden, we happened upon the signage that indicated the left turn we needed to take to Old Man Hut.  And the 60% gradient downward slope.

Old Man Hut zoomed in. Looking down.

The looks on everyone’s faces were one of Holy Fk!

And a simultaneous collaborative thinking it over meeting had.

Thinking whether our best laid plans from the evening before of only going as far as Old Man Hut, were the best plans when faced with the damn hut looking back up at us in reality.  From waaaaaaaaaaaay down there.

And all four of us were most definitely doing it!