21 Jan Saturday. Te Araroa 112
Fern Burn Hut 2609km to Macetown 2635km (26km)
Camped last night as the hut was full and thankfully it was a dry night but a little cold for me, but I sleeped through out night until I heard Ken get up at 4:30. One hour latter we both decided to pack up and get an early start as the weather report said that there was to be rain starting at 2pm so at 6:20 we started the big climb.
In an hour we made it to the first of the three saddles we need to do today, it’s supposed to rain at about 2pm today but looking from the top of this Saddle, Jake Hall’s Saddle (1275msl) there wasn’t in the much in the way of rain clouds, fingers crossed.
Breakfast was at Highland Creek hut, the climb down from the saddle was about 400 metres more than we climb this morning. The walk was through tussock grasslands on a well defined track which day hikers use
Roses Hut we stopped for a late lunch, nice tidy hut and if the time was closer to our stop for the day time it would have been an ideal place. It was about 2 and down came the rain, just a drizzle again first so we geared up with our weather paints and my usless jacket and attacked the last saddle for the day, Ken was slow as I powered ahead until a woman hiker passed me, the benefits of just having a light day bag opposed to my heavy bag.
Finally got to the Rose Saddle the climb was horrible but no worse than any other passes I have done so far and it only took an hour and a half
Had a wrap for lunch with seeds such as sunflowers I think and cheese with tuna. This is what I knotice gives me plenty of energy to carry of for the afternoon and after having if now for a number of months, I still like them.
Macetown, there is really nothing there, just a free camp ground. Back in the 18 hundreds it was a town but with all the gold now gone so to the general population which is now zero.
Getting here wasn’t every exciting , we came down the hill right to the main Arrow river, we had two options, walk on the flood line track which is usually difficult or walk in the river which requires constantly crossing. We did the latter and after the first couple of river crossings our feet became very cold and with the constant rain and with my rain jacket not really effective, I was getting wet to my skin.
Finally made it to Macetown, took the wrong turn at first but made it to the camp with a historical restored building which was a stone building that was once a bakery. Thank fully it wasn’t locked as tented wasn’t a pleasant thought in this rain.
But some idiot lit a fire in the fireplace then realised that the chimney was blocked and when I opened the door, all there was, smoke and it poured out while I held the door open with my walking stick.
The culprit of the fire was obviously a TA hiker as he had left behind his camera probable because it was so smokey for him to see anything. Not far from the building is a sole tent so before leaving in the morning I’ll see if it’s his.
So for the next half hour, after putting out the fire, I fanned the smoke out of the small room with my sleeping mat which did the job and with the smoke gone, the stone building with the uneven stone floor was our home for the cold night.