Crampons and ice-axe, anyone?

So much has happened since I last was able to post an update… here are the highlights:

Beautiful Lake Rotoiti



ANY hut is 5-star when it has a fireplace and mattress!

Got a ride to Christchurch with Nicky from Blenheim. Attended the Queen’s Scout Award presentation with the Governor General and a dozen very proud teenager Venturer Scouts. Caught up with all my family (including Dad who was recovering from emergency intestinal surgery) and only a handful of buddies. Didn’t really see much of the quake-hit parts of town – too quick a visit.

Relocated a rental car back to get back north (via Lewis Pass to arrange the bounce-box handling) and Nicky and Aaron once again put me back on trail, from where I had finished up beneath the shadow of Mt Richmond.

Strolled along to St Arnard (3 days worth). It was a frosty morning when I set off from there around the postcard-worthy Lake Rotoiti and up Travers Valley. Cold crossing Travers Saddle and spent the next day stuck in a hut as the rain poured and poured and poured.

The next morning however, all was silent on the roof. That’s because snowflakes don’t make much noise. Decided to head towards Waiau Pass and see if conditions were OK for a crossing. Fair to say hindsight is a wonderful thing, and another day tucked up warm in my sleeping bag in Blue Lake Hut probably would have been a good idea.

Instead I forged up and over a very windy, very snowy and very cold Waiau Pass, and lived to now tell the tale!

Linked up with St James Walkway and am posting this from Hanmer – a superquick visit to grab some more food and head into Lake Sumner / Harper Pass area to reach Arthurs Pass before the next forecast cold and rain-filled front blows in from the south.

Thanks to everyone who has dropped me a note, hoping I’m staying warm and dry… I’m doing my best to! And once again, I’ll be out of coverage for a week or two – I’m going to try a full-on effort to chomp some kilometres and get out of the alpine neighbourhood as soon as possible.

Comments and messages are a real treat when I do hit ‘civilisation’ so please keep ’em coming! ๐Ÿ™‚

About Stuart Fleming

Just a guy who likes to walk and write.
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6 Responses to Crampons and ice-axe, anyone?

  1. Yasmin says:

    Dear Stuart,
    Glad to read that you managed to catch up with family and mates back home in Christchurch. You are really having an experience of a life time. Vow ..Lake Rotoiti looks amazing..enjoy.
    Warm regards

  2. Hi Stuart
    So pleased you are safe and sound, and still trekking with your trade-mark smile. Keep those toes warm! We’re still following your adventures, in awe that you’ve come so far! Wow…can you believe that you’re three-quarters done (operating on the calculation that CHCH is half way down the second island…). Does the trail go over Foveaux Strait to Stewart Island as well, or stop in Bluff? Perhaps you should go the extra kms, just because? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Keep trekking, keep smiling, keep checking in, because we’re cheering you on!


    • Cheers Jo! Warm toes are very important – yesterday they were clean most of the day with numerous crossings of the Taramakau River. The trail itself does stop at Bluff, but I have managed to secure a ferry ride across Foveaux Strait… now all I need is the use of a batch for a week or two on Stewart Island so that I can write the book! (hint, hint – know anyone fortunate enough to have such an abode?) ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. susan says:

    your spirit and tenacity are amazing! Don’t forget to enjoy the solitude and thinking space of these unpeopled days!

    • Thanks Susan, though I’m having days where I’m ready to re-enter the ‘real world’ and embark on the next adventure/project… especially after connecting with ChCh folk and family again. Thinking space is mostly trek logistics – ick! – and humming random songs of yesteryear ๐Ÿ˜€

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