Our arrival to Mt Rintoul Hut yesterday included new greeting introductions to Jane and Pip who were also walking the South Island TA Trail.
They had arrived earlier in the day after ticking off the Rintoul’s as well.
Except, they had started their day from Old Man Hut.
They affirmed our decision yesterday that to keep going was a good one from the descriptive language they used to illustrate the climb up from Old Man Hut. Pips grimace though was short lived when it was replaced with a grin.
On day 2’s climb up to Starveall Hut, I picked up a sandal lying on the trail that had obviously been lost off someone’s pack. A note in the hut boot mentioned a phone number for it’s return and so was going the right thing to carry it out and get it returned. It was Pip’s and I immediately knew. She had the other on and wearing just a sock on the other so as much as I was happy to lose the 100grams of weight, she was happier to be finally able to stop hopping one foot around huts and to the toilet.
Jane and Pip were first out the hut door bound for Tarn Hut. Iain from IT and us weren’t too far behind, Katie decided to have a down day and do some washing.
There were more up’s, a-longs, downs, exiting bush, entering bush, boulder hopping, outer shells put on, outer shells taken off and to our surprise, no sign of Jane and Pip ahead. Either they had taken a wrong track when there wasn’t a wrong one to take, had fallen off a ridge ledge or were a heap fitter than they let on and cracked on at a pace.
Before we went over a brow, we took one last pause and glance back at Mt Rintoul Hut and the towering mountain behind. It gave us a greater perspective of just how steep the last descent was. I was reminded more so as the knee pain became constant when lifting the knee to step up.
More drugs provided some abatement.
We eventually caught up and passed Jane and Pip. They were certainly cranking on. A couple more ridgeline undulations with the sun bake rising the mercury had the forest in places humming. Wasps were massed, doing their thing. At one point, we kept the mouths shut so there was no swallow mishap. Bait traps were empty and needed re-setting.
It was another down hill before we saw the tarn itself. Quite a large body of water too.
The hut appeared.
A much shorter day than yesterday by a long shot. Jane and Pip soon arrived too and it just happened that we all decided to take a dip in the tarn collectively. There was discreetness as best as could be when one by one, we striped off to bath. Bums faced in whilst drying off and redressing had a no looking agreement. I looked. Pip’s shriek is probably still echoing around the tundra!
Clothes were hung to dry and air as we were able to just sit for a couple of hours and chit chat. Iain whittled a miniature samurai sword as he sat there – very clever.
Shadows appeared, another de-hydration meal consumed, last pee, then assuming the horizontal position, the hut became silent.
Until Iain from IT started snoring. The pitch up there with Pip’s naked shriek mountain echo.
Luckily for him, his samurai sword was hidden.