We had originally planned to walk through to Glendhu Bay but somewhere along the line had changed our minds in favour of Fern Burn hut.  Good move according to an American SOBO we met today who had stayed at the crowded, noisy motorcamp last night. We had a relaxed start and left Highland Creek hut at 9am. As predicted, it took an hour to cross three little creeks to get to the base of the day’s climb. By then we had overtaken Hoera who had left before us.

Chilling before a relaxed start.

We began the steep climb knowing that it was nothing more than we had achieved over the past two days on the Motatapu track. It did get a bit gusty in places but we made great progress and reached Jack Hall’s saddle 1275m in one hour 15 mins.

The ridge was quite exposed in places.
Highest saddle yet.
View back along the ridge we had climbed.

Then the long, slow descent began. As soon as we were out of the wind, we stopped for first lunch. Once again I enjoyed chicken salad with my buckwheat crackers – featuring our last batch of mung bean sprouts.

We were a little shell shocked to have two couples, out on a day walk to the saddle from the lake, walk past us. The descent was easy, but longer than we had expected. It took us longer to walk down than it had taken to walk up.

Johan and Tara were already at the hut and Hoera arrived shortly afterwards. Then several other people began to arrive, having walked up from the car park. Soon the hut was crowded and very noisy. By then the wind had dropped considerably and we opted to camp and enjoy one last peaceful night in the mountains.

View from the hut.

Our final dehydrated dinner of this trip was the delicious Gardener’s pie. An assortment of vegetables in nomato sauce with tofu and instant mashed potato. We both enjoyed the different texture and will get sure to repeat this dinner another time.

Cooking dinner