25th December, Te Araroa 85
It’s Christmas day
Hunter Hut 1910km to Red Hill hut 1928km
On Christmas morning we started on the trail at 7:30 and then arrived at Porter’s Creek hut at 10:10 for our second breakfast where I had my last coffee with milk. We were warned by others that were ahead of us via Facebook that there was a new water tank installed and the tank hasn’t as yet been filled from the rains and to carry water from the nearby stream before arriving. After resting I had a look at the tank and as you can see from the photo. The guttering that is supposed to feed water into the tank was incorrectly posited to take advantage of the rain water off the tin roof. No wander there’s no water.

Hunters hut where we stayed the night was very nice and warm but has a tragic history. Back in 1995, A flash flood destroyed Bush Edge hut and took two experienced conservation staff with it while they were sleeping at 5 in the morning. The hut was totally destroyed and some remained are still on the water edge as a reminder as we reach the replacement hut late yesterday, Hunters Hut was built in memory of the two conservation workers that had lost their lives

My knee is much better this morning, I took two tablets of voltaren late last night and another this morning along with plenty of massage to relax the tight muscles and with fingers crossed, I hope the worst of the pain is over.

Thinking of ways to reduce my back weight, at the moment my base weight is 12.8kgs and that’s without water or food. Others i have come walk with that come from mainly America have a base weight of between 5.5kg to 8kg.  Basically we carry the same gear, sleeping bag, tent and cooker but theirs is more expensive due to the lighter material. This alone would make a difference to my knees.

Great views along the way as we walk the final section of the Richmond ranges, The surrounding mountains were red in color where my photos didn’t do justice to the amazing views.  The river crossings were a breeze  and there were only two sections that were particularly hard which both involved a hard vertical climb that went on forever.



Up to the hut was an access road from Saint Arnaud, the town we are heading to tomorrow which means the going is to be easy. An elderly couple had just arrived in their vehicle with a couple of dogs. They told us that they volunteer and repair the walking and cycling track in the area and along with their pick and shovels they headed off with heavy backpacks and their dogs following behind also carrying their food supplies.

Before heading off, they told us about other hikers that come through the area that come unprepared, one was a person that had totally run out of food on the trail and they helped out by giving them some of their supplies, and then there was another guy that walked the Richmond Rangers in only in his flip-flop or jandals and came to a point that he was having difficulties walking further.

The Red hut didn’t has a fire place but it was the warmest hut I have yet experienced and this was probable due to the double glazing windows and doors.